East County Sports

Matador Ringer leads state in strikeouts

Mount Miguel senior Thomas Ringer. / MMHS Baseball

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Dave Dickens

EastCountySports

 

SPRING VALLEY (5-16-2021) – Mount Miguel High School Athletics, made famous mostly due to the number of championship banners that hang inside the “Matadome” (read girls basketball league champions), and by a few professional players from the football program and boys hoop.

The newest addition, the Matador varsity baseball team, has put Mount Miguel back on the map since the arrival of head coach Frank Coit in 2016. Coit came from an astounding
Granite Hills baseball program alongside current Eagle skipper James Davis.

In 2019, the Matador baseball squad finished 14-19 overall and 5-7 in the Grossmont Valley League. That year, the club lost their first five games. However, once they arrived in the San Diego CIF Division 4 playoffs, the team did some serious damage, winning four out of six games, winning the first three games all by shutouts.

A team that consisted of six seniors and a stack of talent, including, the ever-improving and most valuable player this year hands down who was a sophomore at the time, Thomas Ringer.

In that phenomenal year of baseball for the Matadors, Ringer finished the season with four wins in 61 2/3 innings pitched with 67 strikeouts, posting a 3.06 ERA. and a batting average of .247, Ringer would occasionally also catch, and played third base.

A fired-up 2019-20 team came back fired up, even with the loss due to the graduation of six seniors and one all-star catcher, and one of Ringer’s favorite targets, Cameron Beauzec.

And then there was 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation for all spring sports in March of 2020. The Matadors looked to have a stellar year even losing the six seniors. However, the team played only six contests, ending the season at 3-3 overall, in which Ringer started four of the six games played and ended with three wins, a 0.95 ERA, 22 innings pitched, three walks, and 28 strikeouts.

COVID-19 destroyed athletics until March of 2021, unless you were Thomas Ringer.

Mount Miguel senior Thomas Ringer delivers a pitch. / MMHS Baseball

“Tommy developed during the Covid-19 period of shutdown. He decided to work his tail off, losing 25 pounds, got stronger, developed more control with his pitching, and just an overall desire to be better heading into his senior year,” Coit said.

“Tommy was pitching against 18-and-under D-1 competition while playing summer ball. People discount Ringer because he doesn’t play ball for a D-1 program, however, he recently went five innings against a spectacular D-1 Santana Sultan team and only gave up one earned run. It is also a strike against him just because he plays for a D-4 program, and in one instance had to throw 30 additional pitches, due in part to multiple errors by his defense,” said Coit.

“I would pitch Tommy against any D-1 team, guaranteed to be a pitcher’s duel,” Coit concluded.

Even opposition players and coaches speak highly of not only Ringer’s physical talent but his character on and off the field.

This season the Mount Miguel skipper was informed that the Foothills Christian Knights needed a home field to play on this season. Coit immediately offered his field to share with the Knights.

When asked about Thomas Ringer, Foothills Christian skipper Dave Lewis said, “Tommy is a great talent but as good of a player that he is, even a better young man. I recall a trip to Italy and Tommy was a part of the USA team I was coaching and the kid was just 14 years old. He lost the game, and that he apologized for losing and started running wind sprints in the outfield, and no one told him to. I realized at that moment this young kid understood that he could learn more from losing, and after that trip, I knew he would be something special.

“This season at Mount Miguel, I have witnessed first hand, Tommy has to throw a lot of additional pitches, mostly due to the youth and inexperience in regards to his defense making several errors behind him.

“The funny thing is, everyone knows what a great talent he has, but unlike a David Wells, (the former Yankee and Padre from Point Loma High), he never ever turns around or calls out and yells at these youthful players after so many errors, he just stays focused, calm, cool, collective, and does his job. He has pitched and done well against international teams, but again, a character kid that lost 25 pounds through hard work and dedication to his craft, a great lad.”

The biggest part of this story is that Ringer is number one in the state of California with 88 strikeouts with seven games left to play. He has faced international top talent so observers should not hang the “…but he is pitching for a D-4 program…” label. He faced Santana ace Dean Landers, and even Landers complimented the talent of this young man.

Take one of his best friends and fierce competitor of Tommy’s when on the baseball diamond competing, pitcher Kip Famolaro of the Foothills Christian Knights.

“Ringer has earned each and every one of his strikeouts on the mound this year. He has an unmatched work ethic and passion for this game, not to mention an absolutely filthy slider. The man has got some grit. If you play with Ringer long enough, you’ll realize he is the happiest player on the field. Aside from being a dominant pitcher, Ringer is a genuine guy who I love to be around. Baseball or no baseball, he is a great young man who will have a future full of success,” said Famolaro.

Even the former all-star backstop Beauzec, who caught Ringer often in 2019, had great memories and words of encouragement, not surprised at all at Ringer’s achievement.

“I knew he was a special pitcher after a few bullpens of tossing with him,” Beauzec said. “I wish we were the same age because I know his game would be a lot better. He was my favorite pitcher to catch.

“When I played, mainly so to his command, my favorite pitch was always his changeup. Easily, the best one I have caught. It’s special when someone can throw it behind in the count, especially in high school. I would call the change-up behind in the count 2-0 and he would trust it.

“He is a special talent, and I admire the work he puts in to take his craft above and beyond.”

Ringer

Off the field, Ringer is a well-mannered individual, constantly looking out for those around him.

“Besides his baseball talents, Tommy is an outstanding individual. If I was a coach, I would want a pitcher such as himself on the field. More importantly, I would want a person like Tommy to represent my team off the field even more so,” said Beauzec.

The Matadors’ current catcher and a player who may still be close to the base-stealing lead Jonathan Trader also added his two cents regarding his friend and teammate.

“Playing with Thomas is so enjoyable. He always brings positive energy to the dugout, and always puts in one hundred percent on and off the field. He is by far my favorite person to catch. He rarely misses his location and we never get crossed up. H is ability to push through pressure is outstanding, he is always looking out for other people, he is very kind and super
respectful, it is always a good time around Thomas. “ Said Jonathan Trader.

Another current teammate and friend, who not only plays a mean shortstop for the young varsity Matadors, and also is a phenomenal wide receiver for the Matador football team, also chimed in.

“ College coaches should want this guy. Tommy has everything a coach would desire. He has The work ethic, leadership, and character. He can play ball but he always knows there is room for improvement. In the dugout, he is always in the game and keeps the dugout electric.

On the field, he is very ambitious and takes pride in his craft. He can also take constructive criticism from coaches.

Off the field, he is a respectful people person. In class, he is self-disciplined and takes care of business.

In my opinion, Tommy deserves a scholarship, he has everything a coach can ask for, especially with his recent huge accomplishment of having the most strikeouts in California. “ Said JoJo Castillo.

“(Thomas) is a great friend, great guy, and a great athlete. He is always challenging himself and was just analyzing and breaking down how Trevor Bower of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers his pitches. Tommy is a great pitcher and has changed a lot in the last year. He is finally growing into what I knew he could be, a great pitcher that will make it for sure,” said former Matador Erk Kelly.

After speaking with all the people that have played with or opposed Thomas Ringer, it goes to show how many characters matter in this ever-changing game of baseball.

A few things that Thomas had to say regarding his accomplishment and his future plans?:

“I never feel stressed or pressure when I’m out there, I’m just having fun playing the game I love,” said the senior.

“My thinking is always ‘what is the worst-case scenario?’ As weird as that sounds, that is how I have become more successful in life on and off the field.

“I’m gonna play baseball in college, have a start here and there, make the most of my opportunities, and I believe you can get better in the moment. If baseball stops at the college level, I’m gonna be studying Sports Management as my major, with a minor in Business. I want to run a company that helps kids like me get better at their craft, their passion in sports, and give them the tools and training to get there.

“I’m definitely proactive, like my parents, and they have a heart for animals as zookeepers.

“I want to be the same way but helping kids reach their potential in sports. In conclusion, being number one in strikeouts with 88, in the state, is very humbling, and might have a chance to be In the top 100 in the nation for strikeouts with seven games left.”

Ringer will get the nod tomorrow versus Monte Vista. Maybe he will reach 100 tomorrow afternoon, stay tuned folks, this is history.

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