Family and coaches surround Athens High's Christopher Ford after his signing to play baseball at the University of Rio Grande
Thu, Jun. 21, 2012 - [Baseball]
Rio Grande Sports Information
ATHENS, Ohio - Athens High School baseball standout Christopher Ford has inked a national letter-of-intent to continue his playing career at the University of Rio Grande.
Ford, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound outfielder, played a major role in the 2012 season for head coach Fred Gibson's Bulldogs, who finished 19-5-1 after suffering a heart-breaking extra-innings loss to Fairfield Union in the semifinal round of the Division II Southeast District Tournament.
Ford hit a team-best .524, while also topping the squad in home runs (5), runs batted in (34) and slugging percentage (.889). He also had six doubles, one triple, a .633 on-base percentage and 25 stolen bases en route to earning first team All-District and Mizuno All-Ohio selections.
"I'm excited to continue my baseball career and to contribute to Rio Grande in any way possible," said Ford, whose accolades also included being named the Tri-Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Ford also made eight appearances on the mound for Athens, including a trio of starts, and posted a 3-1 record with three saves and a 2.45 earned run average. In 20 innings of work, he allowed 11 hits, six walks and recorded 28 strikeouts.
Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont said that Ford's versatility played a major role in his desire to add the youngster to the RedStorm program.
"Chris is a very versatile athlete and we're looking forward to using that athleticism to help our program," Warnimont said. "He has great speed and power and a good arm. We're looking for him to make an immediate impact."
Ford, who remains undecided on a field of study at this point, chose to sign with Rio Grande after also receiving interest from Shawnee State University, Ohio Christian University, Sinclair Community College and Central Florida Community College.
"I've dreamed of playing college baseball since I was five years old," he said. "I liked the campus, the program, the school was close to home - there were a lot of positives."
Although Warnimont mentioned speed among his signee's top attributes, Ford singled out speed and physical strength as areas he hopes to improve upon before the 2013 campaign gets underway.
"I think I've got a positive attitude, good bat speed and good hands," Ford said. "But my ultimate goal is to develop into the player that I want to be and reach my full potential. I want to have the opportunity to win a championship."
Ford is the grandson of Steve and Laura Ford of Athens.