Unsigned Senior Q&A with OF/RHP Ryan Rippee from Kickapoo HS

OF/RHP Ryan Rippee (right) is set for a big senior season for the Kickapoo Chielfs, and looks to improve on a successful junior campaign where he posted a .375 batting average with nine doubles, four homeruns and twenty eight RBIS. On the mound, Rippee went 3-1 with one save and twenty two strikeouts in twenty three innings. Rippee is one of six returning seniors looking to improve on a 2011 season where Kickapoo went 20-7.

PBR: You have played with and against some top talent in the Midwest, how do you feel that has prepared you going into your senior year?

Rippee: I believe that playing against the competition I played against last summer will help me this spring as I play for Kickapoo High School.  At Kickapoo we usually see every teams No. 1, so facing quality pitching every game like we did this summer will help prepare me for the spring.

PBR: Do you feel playing in the Springfield area prepares a player to be ready for college?

Rippee: I definitely feel like traveling around last summer to the college tournaments really was better for me than playing Legion baseball.  We do have some quality pitchers in our area and some great hitters, too.  

PBR: When you’re not competing in the spring, are there certain things you do to stay in the best physical shape you can?

Rippee: I try to lift as often as I can, I really enjoy working in the weight room and am always looking for new ideas to help me get better.  The weight room is an awesome place and it has helped me gain about 20 pounds since last year. Also with playing basketball in the winter, my legs stay in good shape year round.

PBR: As you go into your senior season, are there goals you have set out to accomplish?

Rippee: Going into my senior season the big thing that I want to do is win. The last two years we have lost in the district championship game. I want to win every game that we play in, and the fact that we have lost the last two years in the district championship is a huge motivator for me. On a more individual side, I'd like to hit the ball with more power. I only had 4 Home Runs my Junior year, so I've been working all offseason with Coach Merryman trying to create a swingpath that is better suited to hit the ball with backspin.

PBR: Looking back, who did you play for this summer and how did you feel you fared against summer competition?

Rippee: I played with the Midwest Twins last summer. I felt that I fared very well against the competition, I never ever felt like I was overmatched and was pleased with my hitting performance. I hit for a high average but still would have liked to hit more home runs though as I hit mostly singles and doubles.