Rock Bridge senior hopes to win championship before playing Missouri baseball

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 10:57 p.m. CDT; updated 9:15 a.m. CDT, Thursday, May 3, 2012
Ryan Schmidt throws the ball at Rock Bridge High School on Wednesday. The Rock Bridge Bruins lost to the Christian Brothers College Cadets 5-3.

COLUMBIA — Senior Ryan Phillips will advance his baseball career in the fall as a new member of the Missouri baseball team. But before he steps into the Division I spotlight, Phillips has a goal he wants to accomplish on the Rock Bridge field.

Phillips signed a letter of intent with Missouri this November after spending four years as a pitcher and shortstop for the Bruins. When he was a freshman at Rock Bridge, the team won the district championship for the first time in 24 years, which is noted on the championship banner in the dugout. After winning the district championship his freshman and sophomore years, Phillips craves another postseason victory before heading to Missouri. 

"It's a big relief in a way, knowing all of the hard work you put in is paying off," Phillips said. "I'd really like to leave with a district championship this year."

Phillips has become a dynamic player in his time at Rock Bridge, said assistant coach Ron Widbin, who describes Phillips as a "two-way player" because he can pitch and play shortstop. Phillips credits much of his growth as a multi-dimensional player and as a person to the Bruins' coaching staff.

"The coaching staff does a good job of pushing us forward," he said. "They use the game of baseball to teach us about life."

Rock Bridge lost to Christian Brothers College High School 5-3 on Wednesday at home. The team maintained a 3-3 tie for the majority of the game until the Cadets pulled away with two runs in the eighth inning. The loss moves the Bruins to 17-5 for the season. Despite the outcome, the team is hopeful for success in the postseason.

"Our goal every year is to win districts," Widbin said. "Everything after that is gravy."

Rock Bridge continues regular season play at 5 p.m. Thursday at Francis Howell High School.

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