Monday, August 15, 2011
Bishop Amat QB Rio Ruiz shines on the diamond
By Blair Angulo
Is Rio Ruiz a baseball player that also happens to play football? Well, he's a pitcher with a cannon right arm and a hitter with a smooth left-handed swing. One scouting service ranks Ruiz No. 2 nationally among all two-way players. The 6-foot-2 senior is committed to play baseball at USC.
With that being said, Ruiz also plays quarterback for Bishop Amat. It's a high-profile position on high-profile team, meaning the attention -- and pressure -- escalates. He threw for 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his passes last season.
And that's where the debate begins: what happens when one sport interferes with the other? Ruiz has spent his summer on the baseball diamond while his football teammates, very much relying on their star signal caller this season, prepare without him. He has excelled, most recently on Sunday when he went 1-for-1 with two RBIs, two walks, a run and a stolen base at the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego. Ruiz is a top prospect and potential first-round draft pick next June, so you can't fault him for jumping at every opportunity to wow major league scouts.
The Lancers, meanwhile, have been bracing for life without Ruiz, who is scheduled to miss three non-league games while he's in Colombia competing for the U.S. 18-under national team in September. Sophomore Koa Haynes is the front-runner to fill in, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Ruiz, though, is expected to play in Amat's toughest non-league matchup, against defending Pac-5 Division champion Servite on Sept. 9 at Cerritos College.
Will the skeptics come out if Ruiz doesn't shake off the rust by then? And, perhaps most importantly, will the pressure high schoolers face to "choose" one sport ever dissolve?