BASEBALL is a game full of superstitions and one of these rituals has come home for Tamworth pitcher Brock Ridgewell and the NSW Country side.
Country stepped up to win the National U16s Championship in Blacktown on Tuesday, with the pitcher playing a lead role.
After beating Western Australia in the semi-final on Monday, the whole team decided not to wash their pants for the final against NSW Metro, and it worked.
The now Australian champions took on Metro three times in the tournament, although only won once, but that was the one that counted.
The side played its first game of the tournament against Metro on January 7, going down 10-3, before backing up to play Western Australia.
WA won although had to forfeit the points after it was discovered its major pitcher had thrown more than the allowed limit of balls.
Despite losing the game, Ridgewell was the star of the show.
The Farrer student only went for three earned runs and six hits from 79 pitches.
“The coaches said that was the best they have ever seen me pitch,” Ridgewell said.
After all eight sides played each other once, the top four sides went to the finals.
Both NSW sides went through along with WA and Victoria Blue.
In the finals, Metro went through undefeated whilst all other sides only managed to win one game each.
Country had to play WA in the semi and restrict them to fewer than five runs whilst winning by more than two for a chance at the final.
A 15-4 scoreline to Country took care of that and a third shot at Metro was booked in.
With dirty pants on, the Country boys found themselves tied two-all in the fifth innings of the final.
That was when Ridgewell was thrown the ball.
He instantly struck out one of the tournament’s best batters, as well as another out.
“It was only the second time he had struck out all tournament, so it was good to get him like that,” Ridgewell said.
In the sixth innings, Country scored one run, before the pitcher struck again.
Two more outs to Ridgewell in the sixth let Country put their foot on the home base and close the game out to win in a thrilling 5-2 victory.
The Cougars pitcher now has his eyes on a tour of the USA.
He will trial next week for the Australian U23 Expo team.
Fellow Tamworth player Aiden Lee is already in the side that will showcase Australia’s young talent on a US tour in June and July.