2024, Varsity Baseball | June 7, 2024

Ryder Fernandez brings physicality to Lake Central baseball

nwitimes.com – Grace Opinker

ST. JOHN — Since entering high school, Ryder Fernandez has continuously contemplated solely focusing on baseball or football.

“I’ve always thought about how my opportunities could maximize if I focused on one sport year-round and how much I could prove, but I like sticking to two,” Fernandez said. 

Lake Central’s starting third baseman is a three-year letterman in baseball and a two-year letterman in football. The DAC All-Conference safety is the only two-sport athlete on the baseball team.

JV head coach Brian McNamara said Fernandez helps bring toughness to the diamond thanks to the physical aspect football brings. Although the junior admitted he may sometimes be at a disadvantage compared to his teammates who focus on the same sport year-round, he said his grind has allowed him to succeed at both.

Because Fernandez weight trains throughout the year, he said he’s always ready to practice and go to work for either sport.

“When Ryder was a freshman he was pretty advanced on the mound and at the plate,” McNamara said. “He carries himself very well, he’s very respectful. He does all that kind of stuff that we want on top of being a good baseball player.”

Fernandez rotated between JV and varsity the previous two seasons serving primarily as a pitcher and third baseman his freshman year. With Josh Adamczewski, a 2023 Milwaukee Brewers draft pick, playing third for the Indians last season, Fernandez patiently waited for his breakout moment this year.

“That was my goal to secure the starting third base spot,” he said. “It just shows if I put my mind to something I can really achieve it. If I set my mind to one specific goal and I really want it, I can get it.”

The grit Fernandez has gained playing safety is a vital part for him earning the starting position, he said. 

“Just being willing to risk my body or put it all out there,” he said. “Leaving everything on the field, knowing I gave everything I could to the game.”

Fernandez has every intention to leave it all on the field as LC (22-9) will play Westfield (21-10) at 10 a.m. Central on Saturday in Lafayette in the Class 4A semistate semifinals. As long as the Indians can play a clean game of baseball, McNamara is confident they will be competing in the championship game Saturday night. 

As Fernandez’s senior year creeps closer, he said he is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve more in both sports, including earning all-state in baseball or football.

“He’s one of the hardest workers we have,” McNamara said. “He’s setting that example for the other juniors who are going to be seniors next year. That helps the younger guys coming up to see what it takes to continue the legacy we have at Lake Central high school.”

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