The total package
Published 6:05 pm Thursday, July 7, 2011
PLYMOUTH – Plymouth coach Terry Perry swears he could tell when star slugger Ronnell Blount was about to do something special just by watching his facial expressions. The Vikings’ 13-year coach noted that Blount’s huge smile during at-bats was a dead giveaway that a big hit was right around the corner.
“When Ronnell is smiling that’s when he’s at his best, that’s when you know he’s on top of his game,” Perry said. “You might think I’m lying, but I could tell every time Ronnell was going to get a hit … You can kind of see it in his eyes.”
After compiling a .495 batting average, 5 home runs 13 steals and 43 RBIs there were plenty of reasons to smile in Plymouth this season as the senior first baseman led his team to a 23-6 record, a Four Rivers Conference championship and an appearance in the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional round of the playoffs. Now, Blount has another reason to flash his pearly whites as he was tabbed the Washington Daily News Position Player of the Year.
Blount, who was named the WDN Offensive Player of the Year in football and an all-area first-team selection in basketball, seemingly has endless athletic ability and is a true five-tool player. The senior has won games with his power, as evident by his extra inning, game-winning home run against Perquimans that clinched the Four Rivers Conference crown, and with his speed, like the time he stole home against Southside in the eighth inning to punch the Vikings ticket into the second round of the playoffs. His .495 batting average speaks for itself about his ability to routinely make contact. On defense, the 6-1, 180-pounder is a weapon at first base as his speed and throwing arm makes it extremely hard for teams to bunt down the first base line and his frame presents a good target for his fellow infielders.
“Ronnell, offensively and defensively, has to be right up there with some of the best that I’ve coached,” Perry said. “You don’t find many kids that can play defense the way Ronnell can, hit the ball like Ronnell does and then run the bases like Ronnell does. He’s a complete player. He’s a kid that can hurt you in so many different ways.”
Blount doesn’t not have the classic modern batter’s stance, instead, he steps to the plate stretching out his legs, smiling while he waves his bat around. Extremely loose in his approach, Blount looks like he would have fit in perfect with baseball’s Golden Age hitters of the 50s and 60s. Constantly chatting from first base or the dugout, he also brought timeless energy and support for his teammates.
“His vocals were always in an upbeat manner,” Perry said. “If someone made an error it was never like ‘Come on man’ it was always ‘It’s ok, I got your back.’ I think that’s real important.”
Blount, who was also the WDN Male Athlete of the Year last season, said this year has been a fun one.
“We had a good year,” Blount said. “All the boys put in a great effort this year.”