Jordan Ramirez was a standout football, basketball and baseball player at Hermiston High School, but the recent graduate put his focus on baseball his junior year in hopes of getting a chance to play at the college level.
That day has come.
Ramirez signed to play at Santa Barbara City College three weeks ago after making a visit to the California school.
“I went for a visit and it was nice,” Ramirez said. “The coach (Jeff Walker) was really cool. I had interest from Blue Mountain, and no offense, but this is a better experience.”
Led by pitcher Ian Churchill, the Vaqueros finished 24-15 last year, including a 13-7 record in the Western State Conference North. They have reached the playoffs nine consecutive years.
Ramirez is coming off his senior year, where he was a first-team all-Mid-Columbia Conference outfielder. He hit .396 and struck out just four times in 48 at-bats.
“Jordan deserves to go play (at the college level),” Hermiston coach Kevin Moore said. “It also lets people in the Hermiston community know that a kid can go play college baseball. It makes our program look good.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Ramirez, who was a receiver in football and a guard on the basketball team, said it will be good for him to focus on just one sport.
“I can’t wait to get down there and show my skills,” he said. “Since my junior year, I chose baseball to be my main priority. I had a good season and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Bulldogs struggled in their first year in the MCC, but Ramirez said the quality of pitching he faced will help him at the next level.
“The Washington kids throw fast and know where to place the ball,” Ramirez said. “I think what really threw me off was all the left-handed pitchers — and their ball moves.”
Blue Mountain and Columbia Basin College in Pasco showed interest in Ramirez, but he was hoping for a little more. Moore was able to help him out.
“When you are in a coaching community, you know coaches in certain areas,” Moore said. “I called around, and someone gave me the name of the Santa Barbara coach. They had a couple of openings. I made the connection, it was up to him.”
Moore said Ramirez, who also pitched a few innings this past season, is well suited for the outfield.
“There is space for him to roam,” Moore said. “He has a lot of range and a strong arm. This will be a good opportunity for him. In California, you can play all year around.”
Ramirez, who plans to study business, knows he couldn’t have reached the next level without a little help, and he was quick to give credit to his coaches along the way.
“I want to thank coach (Lance) Hawkins and coach (John) Christy for believing in me my sophomore year and helping me develop my game,” Ramirez said. “And coach Moore, for making me trust the system. I learned a lot of things from him.”