Riverdale Ridge pitcher Ty Thompson has been a busy young man this summer, so much so that he lost 15 pounds since the start of spring baseball in March.
But he can relax a little more, now that he’s decided on his next baseball and education stop.
He picked the University of Northern Colorado, an NCAA Division I program. He’s the first Ravens’ baseball player to join the top level of collegiate baseball programs.
“I chose UNC for several reasons. The new head coach up there (Mike Anderson) and I have had a relationship for several years,” Thompson said. “Coach Anderson was previously the director for PBR Colorado, which is a baseball scouting service for high-school players looking to play at the next level. I had done several PBR events and got to know him through those.
Thompson also spent some time with Anderson as the coach did hitting and pitching lessons. Anderson played collegiately at UNC, was drafted, then started coaching at the University of Nebraska.
“His background, energy level and vision for the program impressed me a lot,” Thompson said. “He has a vested interest in turning the program around since he played there. He has put together a very good coaching staff that I think will help me develop into a draftable player. Coach Anderson really sold me on being from Colorado and staying to play in Colorado and being one of the guys that helps turn around the program, and I've really bought into that.”
Thompson said when the recruiting effort began, “I was open to any option.” He was learning toward someplace warm.
“I had options at every level of college baseball and was seriously considering taking the JUCO (junior college) route,” Thompson said. “JUCO baseball is very competitive, and I had been offered opportunities to play at schools with good baseball reputations. In the end, I chose to play at a four-year school and stay closer to home.”
Thompson and his family made an official visit to the school.
"I was impressed with how nice the school was. There are a lot of new or newer facilities,” Thompson said. “The dorms and cafeteria looked great, and they just opened a new weight room/training facility that really blew me away. Coach Anderson also has big plans to get the field and some of the other baseball facilities upgraded. All of the players we met -- and support staff people -- were very friendly and made me feel comfortable.”
Thompson wants to study business/finance. His goal is to be drafted into Major League Baseball.
“I understand that that is going to be a very hard thing to accomplish but am going to focus there for now,” he said. “I also understand that at some point the game ends and real life begins. I really enjoy fishing and the outdoors when I get the time away from baseball. I hope to be able to have a business that allows me to be involved in those activities in some way -- maybe a fly shop and guide business or something like that.”
COVID’s impact on recruiting was felt far and wide. Schools cut back on the number of available scholarships once the NCAA said athletes who were in their senior year of competition could stay one more season.
“The pandemic caused there to be rule changes that really caused a log jam in college baseball that had a real impact on the 2022 and 2023 high-school classes,” Thompson said. “The transfer portal is a nightmare for high-school players. College coaches are looking to the portal to recruit before they consider high-school players in many cases. There are still a lot of talented Colorado players looking for spots. It was a very frustrating and stressful experience but worked out in the end for me.”
Mentally, Thompson is ready to take the next step. The physical side is another issue.
“I need some time to get ready. It has been a long road this summer and fall with all of the travel and games I played,” Thompson said. “I've lost 15 pounds since high-school baseball started. I'm already back in the weight room and plan to put on some weight and add strength in order to compete at the college level. We also have a little unfinished business at Riverdale that needs to be taken care of next season.”
Thompson finished with a mark of 6-3 last year in 11 appearances. In 50 2/3 innings, he struck out 77 batters and walked just 23.
“I'm proud to be from Colorado and really decided that I wanted to be one of the guys that helps put UNC back on the baseball map,” he said. “UNC has 10 College World Series appearances, but none since 1974. I think it would be amazing to be on a team from Colorado to go to the World Series. Baseball players from Colorado don't get a lot of respect nationally, but that is starting to change some. Colorado teams and players are having success. Coach Anderson wants to recruit Colorado kids and, hopefully, we will be able to do our part to change the national perception of Colorado baseball.”