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Prep baseball: Year away helped Davis star, BYU commit Ben Rigby rediscover love of baseball

First Published      Last Updated Apr 15 2017 05:32 pm


Prep baseball » Rigby, a BYU commit, focused on basketball in his sophomore year.

Kaysville • There is a good reason why BYU is salivating about the possibilities of having Ben Rigby on the diamond in two years.

It's because the Davis High senior left-hander boasts every measurable you can ask for in a baseball player.

He stands 6 foot 6, weighs more than 200 pounds and has a three-pitch arsenal consisting of a fastball, curveball and changeup. He's a reliable fielder at first base when he's not on the mound. He plans to join the Cougars after serving an LDS Church mission in Santiago, Chile.

Yet two years ago, Rigby didn't want to play baseball at all, let alone at the next level. After receiving significant playing time as a freshman, Rigby walked away from the game as a sophomore to focus entirely on basketball.



"I think it was because I was playing with a summer team in basketball and I got some looks and got really excited about it, and baseball was kind of a long year that year," Rigby explained.

Longtime Davis baseball coach Dave Leo didn't panic.

"I think too many times we lose perspective on what our job is as a coach," Leo said. "My philosophy has always been, I'm trying to prepare these kids for the bigger game, and that's the game of life. I just happen to be using baseball as an educational tool. Personally, I would have loved to have Ben his sophomore year, but I thought this is part of his education."

Rigby proceeded to excel on the hardwood, helping the Darts finish 20-4 while averaging 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds as a sophomore. But when springtime rolled around, he began to attend games at the park.

"I was completely focused on basketball," Rigby said. "Then I realized I missed baseball, so I was like, 'I got to go back and play.' "

Leo's patience paid off.

"I think if I would have blown up and threw a fit, Ben would have never come back," Leo said. "I figured if I had a chance to get him back, I had to jump on his wagon and help him be successful."

The Davis program is reaping the benefits. The Darts are 15-0 this season, with three pitchers that have won at least four starts. Rigby is 4-0.

"What makes Ben special is his willingness to compete," teammate and fellow pitcher Dom Fuller said. "He knows if he gets a guy on, he's not getting to the next base 'cause he's getting the next guy and the next guy."

Most of the attention at the beginning of the season was directed at Bingham and Lone Peak, and justifiably so. But the Darts are the only team in the Class 5A that is still undefeated.

And this team is dangerous with a three-man rotation performing as well as it is right now.

"We've been playing together since we were 8 or 9 years old," Rigby said. "We've always been good and dominated throughout our baseball careers. I think people should have expected [this]. I mean, I did."

And if the Darts reach the goal of playing for a championship, Rigby won't be watching from afar. He'll be on the mound, where he belongs.

"I look back in the days when I used to play, if I had to stand in there on a guy who was as big as him, I'd be a little on the intimidated side," Leo said. "I always tell him, 'Good heavens, Ben. You've got the wingspan of a 747. Cut that thing loose. Let's go.' I think if you could play the cards just right and it comes down to a one-game, winner-take-all, Ben Rigby is the guy you want standing there."

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AT A GLANCE

Ben Rigby

School » Davis

Year » Senior

Position » Pitcher/First baseman

Batting average » .426

RBIs » 15

Pitching record » 4-0

ERA » 0.80

IP » 26.1

K » 53

BB » 23


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