MCDERMOTT —Most high school athletes have aspirations of playing collegiate sports. Unfortunately, not many ever receive the opportunity to make their dreams come true.
However, one local kid beat the odds and has declared a new destination as his college career is about to begin. Northwest catcher and pitcher Flip Cassidy has signed with Rio Grande University to play baseball.
“I just want to thank God for giving me the chance to pursue my baseball career at the next level,” Cassidy said. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid.”
Now that his destination has been chosen, Cassidy knows he needs to continue to improve his game if he wants to make an impact at Rio. According to Cassidy, he must continue to improve as a hitter.
Also, Cassidy plans on working in the weight room during the winter to improve his strength and he is looking to build upon his overall speed.
All of those components will give Cassidy a shot at earning playing time during his inaugural season with the RedStorm.
“I hope to compete for playing time early,” Cassidy said. “Hopefully I can work hard, not get nervous, and earn playing time.”
Northwest coach Kylon Crabtree doesn’t have any concerns about Cassidy’s work ethic or baseball IQ.
“They (Rio Grande) are getting a player that works hard. He’s one of those kids that’s at practice first everyday, always leaves last. On days when junior high kids would practice after us, he would stay and work with them. His overall knowledge of the game is top notch. He knows every position. He knows where to go on every ball, depending on if he’s pitching or catching, or playing in the field. He also knows every situation, which is difficult to teach a lot of kids.”
Even though he might be at the lower end of the spectrum, Cassidy believes his best attribute isn’t physical but mental.
“It’s leadership,” Cassidy said. “I’m going to be talking on and off the field, encouraging my teammates. It’s about being vocal.”
Coming from a small high school like Northwest, Cassidy hopes he showed future Mohawk students how to achieve their ultimate goals.
“They have to work hard,” Cassidy said. “Our baseball program wasn’t the most successful but you have to work hard. No matter where you’re at, if you work hard, you’ll go somewhere.”
Crabtree is elated for Cassidy’s achievement while acknowledging that small schools have trouble garnering the recognition that they sometimes deserve.
“Overall, it just helps the community know that we do have good ball players here,” Crabtree said. “It’s just a matter of getting them the publicity some of the other schools may get rather than us. And that’s been dictated because of our record lately. When you don’t make big tournament runs, some of our kids don’t get as much publicity as they should, even though we’ve had some good players over the last couple of years.”
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or on Twitter @crslone.