Senior Garrett Ring is a solid catcher and hitter for the North Forsyth baseball team, but his greatest value to the team involves innings caught.
“The most valuable thing is that he catches every day for us,” Coach Taylor Rutledge of North Forsyth said. “That’s hard to find in high school. He usually leads us in RBIs every year. Last year, he was honorable mention all-conference. He’s much bigger and stronger this year, and he has a better arm and throws more people out.”
However, Ring wasn’t available for much of late March and early April.
“We were playing (Greensboro) Dudley, and there was a close play at the plate,” he said. The base runner “dropped his shoulder into me. This was around the fourth inning.”
He missed three games in late March and wasn’t cleared by his doctor until April 3, followed by a five-day concussion protocol.
Rutledge said the JV catcher Jason Winn filled in while Ring was out.
“He’s a pretty good catcher,” Rutledge said of Winn.
Ring returned on April 11 against Greensboro Page.
“We won a close 4-3 ballgame,” he said. “(I) didn’t have any problems. Actually, (I) played a good game for being out so long.”
Ring said he wants to finish the season strong.
“I want us to find a way into the playoff,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll win a tournament game and go to a playoff game. That’s my goal.”
Ring said he has gotten stronger since his junior season.
“I can tell a difference since last year,” said Ring, now about 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds. “And I’m more mentally sound.”
He said he has also even become more of a leader during his senior season.
“Yes, I’m the team leader,” he said. “With the little things, people look to me. I lead workouts and stretchings. I’m put in more situations where I’m the team leader.”
Ring said he needs to improve his hitting, and Rutledge agrees.
“I need to do some work hitting off the tee,” Ring said. “I won’t say I’m in a slump, but I’m not hitting to my ability.”
Ring said he has always played catcher.
Coaches told him “you were never really scared of the ball, so we put you back there,” he said. “As long as I can remember I was a catcher.”
It turns out that Ring has a story that doesn’t involve baseball.
“It surprises people when I tell them I came from a European country − Romania,” he said. “It’s unique, and I like it.”
He said he has been told that was born to a 16-year-old mother and was abandoned in a hospital in a small Romanian town, Piatra Neam. Then he was moved to Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
“I was adopted by the family I’m with now,” Ring said. “My parents thought they couldn’t have a kid, so they went through the adoption process. I was less than a year old. They flew over there to pick me up and flew me back here.”
It turns out the Rings could have a child, who is about three years younger than Garrett. They’ve grown up as brother and sister, and now freshman Kaitlyn Ring plays infield for the Viking softball team.
“She’s a utility player, but she does not catch; she’s not a catcher,” Ring said.
He said his adoptive father, Rodd Ring, “was into baseball,” playing infield as a youth, and he got Garrett interested.
“In Little League, he would coach me,” Ring said.
He said that last year, he wanted to play college baseball and perhaps attend UNC Wilmington. Now, he said, he is going to UNC Charlotte, where he will major in biology.
“I want to take pre-med and become an orthopedic surgeon,” he said. “I’ve received a few offers to play baseball in college, but I’d rather go for academics. I want to go to the school that’s right for me.
“If they had any interest in me, it’d be an easy decision,” Ring said, referring to the 49ers baseball team. “They picked up a freshman catcher, so there’s no spot for me.”
He struggled to think of any regrets he has had in high school.
Finally, he said, “I can think of one. My freshman year, I wish I’d taken academics more seriously then. I’m still happy with what I’ve done, what I’ve accomplished.”
Here’s one more quick Ring story: He said a friend of his was a fan of the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, and the two of them would talk about the Angels in elementary and middle school. Ring keeps a poster of Angels slugger Albert Pujols in his room, and he’s a huge fan of another Angels hitter, Mike Trout.