It’s the final day of the Northwoods League All-Star Break. Tomorrow, the larks are back on the diamond in Willmar. On Saturday, they’ll be back at home. It’s a long, and at times, tiring season for the players, but the guys will tell you it’s worth it.
Ripken Reyes traveled over 1,500 miles to play the sport he loves.
It's obvious by the name. Ripken. For any baseball fan, you associate the name with Cal Ripken Jr. A name synonymous with the sport. So it must be destined, that Ripken Reyes, was meant to play baseball.
"My family, they're big baseball fans. My dad is a huge supporter of Cal Ripken, and loved the way he played the game,” says Ripken Reyes, second baseman for the Bismarck Larks. “My mom too, but I think they just wanted a son that played with the same characteristics and the same game on the field and off the field intentions as Cal Ripken did, and play the game the right way, and with good character and integrity, and that's the way I play the game as well."
Ripken is a California kid. He's from Stockton, and goes to college at Cal Berkley, so it would come as a surprise to know, he has family ties in the Northern Plains. "I have some family from Bismarck, from North Dakota, so I mean, obviously I've never been here, and everything like that, but I was really excited to come here for sure."
He was sure of his future when he got the call from coach Repay during the college season. "It's a day I'll never forget. I told him this is going to be one of the best decisions you've ever made, and we're going to make the rest of the 19 teams regret it."
Connor Bock, Bismarck Larks Outfielder says, "I've played with him for 2.5 years now at school, and he's always fun to play with. It was kind of a dual effort for the both of us, looking for somewhere to play in the summer, and talking with our coaches and the coaches here, trying to figure out if it was a good fit, and it definitely has been so far."
While Ripken has his mind set on becoming a professional baseball player, he's been working hard to become a teacher as well. "I'm an English major. I just got my degree and going to get my masters in leadership studies, and hoping to coach and teach little kids. I love little kids and I love teaching them the game.
With the playoffs on the horizon, his number one goal, from the very beginning, is to be the best, with the best team in the Northwoods League.
Reyes and the Larks will be in Willmar tomorrow for a 2-game series before heading back to Bismarck on Saturday to play Eau Claire at 6:00 CT.