By David Krueger Herald Writer
Snohomish baseball player Russell Crippen wasn’t sure where he wanted to go to college.
The Panthers pitcher/corner infielder was leaning toward going to a local community college before heading south to Abilene, Texas, where he visited Abilene Christian University. He immediately liked the small private school, which has about 6,000 students.
“It’s kind of a smaller private college, which is going to be great for my learning style,” Crippen said. “I like the smaller classroom environment.”
Coming from a close family, Crippen wasn’t sure if he wanted to travel all the way to Texas to continue his education — and baseball career.
“At first that was a factor when I was making my decision, if I wanted to go to Texas or not,” Crippen said. “It’s pretty far away. I’m a small-town family guy. When I went down there I was like, ‘Texas? Really? That’s super far away.’ But it seems like it’s the right fit for me.”
Crippen is 2-0 this year with 14 strikeouts and six earned runs in 132/3 innings pitched for the Panthers. He’s started games on the mound and came into contests in relief.
At the plate Crippen, the team’s leadoff hitter, has a .486 average (17-for-35) with 14 runs scored, eight RBI, one home run and 10 stolen bases in Snohomish’s first 10 games.
“He’s a catalyst,” said Snohomish head coach Kim Hammons. “Getting on base and stealing bases and driving in runs. You can’t do much more than that.”
Hammons said he knew Crippen, who transferred from Monroe which made him ineligible to play during his freshman season, was going to be successful from the day he arrived at Snohomish.
“It was pretty evident that he had the tools to be an outstanding player,” Hammons said.
Throughout his high school career Crippen has also been a member of the Snohomish football and basketball teams. Hammons thinks that Crippen will continue to improve on the diamond now that he’s spending his time focusing on just baseball.
“I think he’s going to be very successful,” Hammons said. “He’s been a three-sport player throughout his entire career and now he’s just going to concentrate on the one sport. I think as he does that he’s going to continue to grow as a baseball player and get better and better.”