ELKO – Harold Ridgway played from 1959-1963 as a second baseman for the College of Idaho baseball team in Caldwell. Fast forward two generations – and grandson Dalton Ridgway will make his debut on his grandfather’s old stomping grounds as a pitcher.
Dalton Ridgway has been a consummate baseball player since his days at Elko High School and through two seasons at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay.
He was an All-North and All-State selection during his junior and senior seasons at EHS, winning the All-Conference MVP during his final year. He was a 2nd-Team All-North selection as a sophomore.
The Northwestern Athletic Conference felt the wrath of Ridgway’s right arm the last two springs, earning a 2nd-Team All-South NWAC honor as a freshman and increasing his reputation to receive a 1st-Team All-South nod as a sophomore.
Ridgway went 5-4 during the spring, posting a 2.57 earned run average. He struck out 79 batters in 77 innings of work, allowing just 22 walks.
He was a member of the NWAC All-Academic team and was named the SWOCC male scholar athlete of the year during his sophomore season.
The Ridgways have always made baseball a family game, and Dalton is leaving behind a familiar face at SWOCC: brother Derek, who redshirted last season for the Lakers.
“SWOCC is a good school. I liked the small community in Coos Bay,” said Dalton Ridgway. “The Oregon coast is a pretty cool place.”
Dalton and Derek Ridgway played two seasons of varsity baseball at EHS together and one at SWOCC.
The College of Idaho Yotes baseball program has awarded Dalton Ridgway a full-ride athletic scholarship. The area and family history with the school were criterion of his decision to attend the school.
Ridgway was also being recruited heavily by Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi; the University of Wisconsin-Parkside; Campbellsville University in Kentucky; and Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
“I have family from the Caldwell area, and I have seen the campus – so knowing the area helped my decision,” said Dalton Ridgway. “They built a new field about four years ago. It has an all-turf infield, and they have more plans. They are in the process of building new bleachers, a new concession stand, a press box and a hitting facility.”
Ridgway will be busy long before the baseball season begins. He will devote himself to school and his teammates will serve as security guards for the College of Idaho home football games, with the first being Saturday against Eastern Oregon University.
“I’m really looking forward to the increased level of play and keeping the competitiveness up,” Dalton Ridgway said. “It will be cool to follow in my grandpa’s footsteps, and getting a degree from the same place as him from a school as academically tough as C of I would be nice.”
Ridgway, who started a movement for local athletes to attend SWOCC after following the example of Cedric Zumwalt, may very well strike up another trend of local athletes at College of Idaho.
Devin Kelly and Garrett Schofield of Elko, along with Spring Creek graduates Mike Smith and Christian Greenan, are all attending SWOCC and will play baseball for the Lakers — joining Derek Ridgway.
Recently graduated EHS girls golfer Kaily Beatty will also attend College of Idaho this fall and play for the Lady Yotes.
“I will play my two seasons and then enter my name in the draft. If that doesn’t work out, I will pursue my career in physical therapy,” said Dalton Ridgway. “I will find a good place to start my job and go from there.”
College of Idaho is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, competing in the Cascade Collegiate Conference. The Yotes, head baseball coach Shawn Humberger, and pitching coach Rob Strickland are receiving a hungry baseball player with lots of arm talent in Dalton Ridgway.