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Ridenour's next stop - Southeastern Louisiana

June 12, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Fresh off the thrill ride that was the North Hagerstown baseball team's trip to the Maryland Class 2A state final, Hubs senior Matt Ridenour has another one awaiting him.

Days before Ridenour played his final high school game, he signed to play at Southeastern Louisiana, an NCAA Division I program in the Southland Conference. Ridenour is anxious to get the next chapter of his baseball career started.

"I really can't wait to get down there," Ridenour said Thursday. "It's a great opportunity I have ahead of me, and I might as well make the best of it."

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Ridenour, who stands about 6-foot-3 with a strong build and smooth left-handed swing, led the Hubs in hitting this season, batting .521 with 10 doubles, two triples and three home runs. He showed flashes of speed both on the basepaths and in center field while helping North win 16 of its final 19 games.

"This season was just a fun season," Ridenour said. "We had ups and downs, but we had a nice run at the end. My teammates would have liked to come out with a state championship, but it wasn't in the cards. But runner-up isn't that bad."

"I've seen him grow for four years," Hubs coach Shawn Reynolds said after North's 9-4 loss to Eastern Tech in the 2A final on May 28. "The kid has a lot of talent, and he has a chance to go somewhere. He has the size to get to the next level."

Ridenour said the University of Hartford and West Virginia University showed interest, but he chose Southeastern Louisiana in part because of the ability to play year-round.

"First thing is the weather, it's nice all year long," Ridenour said. "The thought of being able to play baseball year-round has always been a dream of mine. The field's great and the campus, I fell in love with it as soon I was there."

Ridenour said he will also have the chance to pitch in a relief role, which also helped sway his decision.

"Being able to be a dual player, I like that," Ridenour said. "That would give me more playing time."

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