Ridder returned to Lake Stevens for his senior baseball season

LAKE STEVENS — Chase Ridder has moved across the country a few times in his life. His surroundings have changed but one thing remained constant for Ridder: baseball.

Ridder, who grew up playing baseball in Lake Stevens before moving to South Carolina prior to the start of high school, returned to the Pacific Northwest for his senior season to play his final year of high school baseball in the one place he wanted to.


“I was born in Texas, but since my dad is in the Navy we’ve moved all over the U.S. It’s been crazy,” Ridder said. “I lived here my fourth grade year through the end of seventh grade, then moved away to South Carolina. I was there until the end of my junior year and came back here to finish my senior year and play with the guys I’ve known my whole life.”

The Lake Stevens senior grew up playing with many of the current Vikings, including fellow senior middle infielder Justin Brown.

“He’s a good kid. I was good friends with him when I was little, like seventh grade,” Brown said. “We’ve been playing ball together since Little League. He left — and it was weird — and now he’s back and it’s a lot of fun.”

The Lake Stevens reunion almost didn’t happen. Ridder’s dad wasn’t supposed to be transferred back to Washington, but the younger Ridder said his father was able to get stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma.

Ridder’s father commutes 80 miles to work and back to Lake Stevens.

“We weren’t supposed to move back here,” Ridder said. “My dad made a few calls and talked to a lot of people and finally got the orders to come back here. I’ve always wanted to come back, ever since we moved away. Coming back here has really been a dream come true.”

Wherever he’s been, Ridder has turned to baseball to continue forward. He attended Powdersville High School, a brand new school that opened his freshman year in Greenville, South Carolina. Ridder helped the baseball team make it to the playoffs for the first time ever during his junior year — where he was named the team’s Most Dedicated.

In the playoff game, Ridder hit back-to-back home runs.

“I’ve had to start over everywhere I’ve gone and make my name for myself,” Ridder said. “It’s been kind of fun. Instead of everything being handed to me, you have to work for what you have. That’s really big for me.

“I just like everything about (baseball). I’ve been playing since I was two years old. My mom used to take me out in the backyard and throw balls to me. I like when you step on the field how everything goes away. You have nothing to worry about except for the game itself. Competition is fun. I don’t like losing.”

Entering the final week of the regular season, Ridder is batting .360 with 10 doubles, nine stolen bases, a triple and a home run — making Lake Stevens head coach Rodger Anderson another among those thrilled to have Ridder back in the Pacific Northwest.

Anderson, who said he “didn’t know about (Ridder) at all” before he moved back, met his starting second baseman last spring when the Ridders moved to Lake Stevens. Anderson saw Ridder hitting with teammates during the summer and knew he was somebody who could help the Vikings.

“You could tell just by watching him hit that he was a pretty good player,” Anderson said. “… We needed another middle infielder and I don’t know where we’d be without him. I’m sure we’d be OK, but he makes my job a lot easier.”

Aside from shoring up a hole in the infield, Ridder also filled a void at leadoff hitter for Lake Stevens.

“On Friday (against Cascade), he led the game off with a double. It just kind of sets the tone for our whole team,” Anderson said. “He’s not a real traditional leadoff hitter because he’s got power and speed that just kind of sets the tone for our whole game. He’ll do something like, stretch a single into a double, and that gets the bench fired up.”

It’s not just a high on base percentage that Ridder brings to the team.

“Well, you know, he’s a good-looking guy so a lot of girls come out to the stands and stuff,” Brown deadpanned. “We get a lot more fans than normal, so that’s always good.”

In just one season, Ridder has made quite the impression on several Wesco 4A coaches, including Snohomish manager Kim Hammons who wishes Ridder would have moved a few miles north to Snohomish.

“He transferred to the wrong school. He should have come to Snohomish,” Hammons said with a laugh. “He’s just an athletic kid. He has really good actions at second base and he can move right over and play shortstop too. He swings a good bat, runs well, quick feet, good hands, he’s the whole package. He’s just a player. And he looks to me like he goes out there with a really good attitude.”

That good attitude was instrumental in helping land Ridder a scholarship offer from Seattle University. That and Brown, his teammate who was being recruited by the Redhawks. Seattle University coaches were talking to Brown, who committed to Washington State. The Lake Stevens shortstop alerted them of his teammate, who drew the attention of Elliott Cribby, the Redhawks recruiting coordinator.

“My friend Justin Brown, my middle infield partner, he told me about them,” Ridder said. “He got offered (by Seattle University) but he ended up taking a different offer. He told me to give them a call, he gave me the number and I called them. Thirty minutes later the coach called me and I talked to him a little bit. He said he’d like to come out and watch a couple of games and three games later they invited me for a visit and they offered.”

With his college plans set, Ridder still has one more high school goal: help the Vikings — who at 6-7 in league and 11-8 overall are right on the cusp of a muddled Wesco 4A playoff picture — make the district tournament.

“Playoffs are always the big goal, and wanting to go on to state,” Ridder said. “The season’s not over yet. Even though we’re lagging in the conference we’re trying to fight back and make it through. … We’ve got to battle and work our butts off to make it to the end. We’re going to do it. I feel like we’ve got the talent with this team to make it that far.”

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