Posted: May 15, 2012 9:03 PM by Eric Blumberg
Updated: May 16, 2012 10:12 AM
COLUMBIA -- In 2006 Ryan Phillips led a Columbia team to the Little League World Series. His time in the spotlight as one of the state's best amateur baseball players hasn't stopped since, and neither has his success.
Phillips was a freshman when Rock Bridge baseball won its first district title in 25 seasons. Three years later, the team is going for its third district title in four seasons.
In his senior season Phillips is 4-2 with two saves and a 1.04 earned run average. He's also the Bruin's leadoff hitter, and is batting .355 on the year.
Rock Bridge baseball coach Justin Towe says Phillips always gives 100 percent.
"When he does something he's going to do it all the way and if he has a passion for it," Towe said. "Look out, he's probably going to be pretty good at it."
Towe says Phillips' success also has a calming influence on his teammates.
"When he does well everyone just settles down and plays baseball," Towe said.
Phillips says he doesn't feel pressure to perform.
"It's just about relaxing and getting control of my pitches and doing things at a higher level," Phillips said.
For Phillips, that next level is playing college baseball for the Missouri Tigers. He expects to play second or third base, with the possibility of picking up some relief pitching in the Tiger bullpen.
"It's something I was hoping for actually," Phillips said. "Not a lot of people get to do that."
Phillips will graduate from Rock Bridge as the school's single-season and all-time leader in hits and wins. But baseball is just one of his many talents. The talented athlete learned how to play acoustic guitar three years ago without taking a single lesson. He says he "just kind of learned it from playing."
"I just did what sounded right with certain chords. Started being inventive with different things," Phillips said.
Life hasn't always been easy for Phillips. When he was nine, his father deserted his family. But Phillips says he doesn't let that affect him.
"I don't regret a single thing. I love the way I was raised," he said. "I'm happy and I wouldn't do a thing different."
From playing in the Little League World Series to winning high school district titles, Phillips always hits the right note.