Bainbridge is known as a wealthy community, but it has been especially richie-rich this spring, thanks to JR Ritchie and Ella McRitchie.
Ritchie, a senior, was a standout pitcher on the Bainbridge High School baseball team, while McRitchie, a sophomore, excelled for the BHS track team.
Ritchie led his team to a Top 16 finish this spring and hasn’t lost a game for the Spartans since he was a freshman. He stood out in other sports, too, but gave them all up as a sophomore to focus on baseball.
Ritchie, who has a 3.59 grade-point average, has received a scholarship to play baseball for UCLA next year, but he also could have the choice to turn pro right away as the Major League Baseball draft is July 17-19. Some expect him to be go in the first round as a pitcher – even as high as the Top 10.
He told the Review last year he would play for the Bruins even if drafted, but this year he has told others he is undecided. He has said he also would like to play shortstop in college, and has a .531 batting average to support that goal. Playing in the MLB has been a dream of his since he was 6.
A highlight this year at the plate came when he was being harassed by Bonney Lake fans during a playoff game, and he responded by hitting a 3-run homer.
The hard-throwing right-hander averages 91.5 miles per hour with his fastball, but speed guns have shown him hitting up to 98. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, he also throws a slider at 83 mph and a change-up at 82 mph. A scouting report says he has good control of all three pitches.
“Slider was his best secondary pitch this outing, has really improved this pitch, is a plus pitch at times with power and late hard biting action,” the scouting report says.
Ritchie, who volunteers as a youth baseball coach, was the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2020-21 with a .38 earned run average with 54 strikeouts and just six walks. He was also named to play in the Perfect Game All-American Classic.
While Ritchie certainly is well-known to local baseball fans, McRitchie is known all over after her success on the TV show “American Ninja Warrior Junior” a few years ago when she was 12.
She’s also an accomplished rock climber, starting when she was 10, having placed second in speed climbing in the World Cup.
She took up the pole vault only a year or so ago and has excelled at that, too. She is an All-American pole vaulter, rated in the Top 4 in the country. She recently placed third at state with a mark of 13 feet, behind the Moe sisters of Olympia, who are rated first and second in the country.
A lot of McRitchie’s success can be attributed to the training she has received at Northwest Pole Vault in Seattle. She has vaulted 13 feet, 7.25 inches indoors.
As for this spring at BHS, her personal record is 13 feet, also getting that mark while placing third at regionals in Kent and winning the Shoreline Invitational earlier this season.
She’s not just a pole vaulter, although that’s what she focused on at state and regionals. She had the fastest time in the Olympic League in the 100 meters at 12.88 seconds. And she also was on the Spartans 4 by 100 relay team before the postseason, and it had the fifth-best time statewide for 3A.