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Donald Ring is a sophomore catcher from Northville, Michigan. (Photo: Hillsdale Athletics / Courtesy)

How long have you been playing baseball?

I started playing baseball when I was 7 years old and my mom was the coach of my Little League team. I played at Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, which is a powerhouse for baseball with a very well-known baseball program. It was very competitive at Rice. There were 27 guys on the roster of my class and 24 went on to play baseball at the collegiate level.  

What’s your earliest memory of the sport?

My earliest memory might have been when I was 8 years old. I was playing in the All-Star game with the Little League and I hated playing in the field because I was scared of the ball. I hated catching. So when the ball came toward me, I ran out of the way.

My mom asked me after the game, ‘Are you afraid of the ball?” I told her no, but secretly, yes, I was afraid of the ball.

How did you end up playing for Hillsdale?

When I made varsity in my sophomore year of high school, I decided that I wanted to play baseball at the collegiate level. My coach was really excited for me and said that if I practice hard, I could play in college. After that, I thought, “That’s my goal.”

In my senior year, Coach T saw me play baseball in Chelsea. After I got an email from him, I went on a tour of campus and then played a game on Prospect Day.

How does this year of baseball compare to your freshman year?  

I can tell you that I’ve improved immensely since last year. Last year was the first year that I’d caught consistently, and I was recruited as a catcher. There was a learning curve. It was tough in my freshman-year fall, a lot of it was focusing and not being lazy behind the plate.  

Six of our nine starters last year were seniors, so I was really trying to be a sponge and absorb everything from them. That year, we made it to the GLIAC for the first time since ’03 and we had a regional bid for our first time in history. Now the team is really, really young. My class has 14 kids on the team and the class below us has eight. Because of that, you get shoved into a leadership role. We are going through growing pains now. Last year, we started off very hot. But we’re seven and 12 right now and learning from our mistakes.

What’s the best advice you’ve received as a student-athlete at Hillsdale?

I’d say that in terms of succeeding as a student athlete: when you say you’re going to do something, do it. Otherwise, you will procrastinate. And when you are going to do something, do it right.

How is the team looking this season?

As long as we stick to the process and focus on the little things that Coach T always preaches to us, I think we’ll have a really good season. We have to play with confidence and allow everyone to make their mistakes because we’re young.

Describe your first at bat for Hillsdale.

My first collegiate at bat was last year in Georgia when I hit a grand slam. To be honest, I think I was just really anxious in the box. I had the mindset that no matter where this pitch comes, I’m going to hit it hard, and it just happened to be in the middle. About 10 games into this season, I hit four home runs. It was probably the best weekend of baseball I ever had, up there with the grand slam I hit last year. It was surreal.

Is America’s pastime losing its audience? 

It could be true. I watch MLB network everyday, so I could never see that it’s not one of the big four sports. I live, breathe, and bleed baseball. I’m not too worried about it. I think you would have a better answer than I would.

What are your plans for after Hillsdale?

I still have to declare for accounting. My dad is an accountant and my uncle is an accountant, so I figured that have a network for when I graduate. I’ve always loved numbers.