RUPERT — Alan Ambriz didn’t play baseball as a kid, but he’ll be playing baseball in college.
The Minico High School senior signed to continue his baseball career and academic endeavors at Spokane Falls Community College on Friday, surrounded by friends, family and coaches at Minico.
Ambriz started playing baseball when he was about 13 or 14 years old, but Minico head coach Jared Price said Ambriz showed the skills of a great all-around player early on.
“He’s a really good athlete,” Price said. “He can do a lot of things.”
Last year, Ambriz, a right-handed pitcher and shortstop for the Spartans, was recognized for his various talents when he earned the utility spot on the first-team all-conference roster.
His arm is one of the most notable things about him, especially its durability. In his last American Legion start on the mound, he pitched a complete game, striking out 11 batters while not allowing a single walk.
His batting is a nice complement. Ambriz doesn’t make his mark with power — he didn’t record any home runs last year — but with consistent balls in the play. Last year for Minico, in 61 at-bats, he hit .361 and earned a near-.500 on-base percentage, according to his MaxPreps.com profile.
The senior Spartan signed to pitch for Spokane Falls CC, but Ambriz said he’ll also be considered to play shortstop as well.
“They said in the fall they’ll be giving me that shot,” he said. “So if I can prove myself, I’ll be a two-way player, which would be really nice.”
Due to his relatively late start, the group of guys that he’s played with hasn’t fluctuated much — many of his teammates this spring were on the teams he played with in the beginning of the journey.
Ambriz said the group has pushed him to be a better player every day.
“It’s really cool because that group is really athletic and competitive,” he said. “They’ve helped me get better because someone could easily take my spot. So I’ve got to stay on top of my game.”
Spokane Falls CC plays with student-athletes from Spokane Community College as a combined team, under the title of Community Colleges of Spokane.
Ambriz said everyone he knows has been very supportive of him during the process.
“They helped me and told me to do whatever I felt like was right,” he said.
The only problem that arose was minimal: the baseball team’s mascot.
“My mom doesn’t like the Sasquatch name, but I like it,” Ambriz said.
Ambriz still has another season left with the Spartans, and after missing the state tournament in 2017 following a runner-up title in 2016, Minico has to prove itself again as one of the best teams in 4A District 4.
He feels like he’s peaking heading into this season and will be able to show off his best stuff, but he also said the team is poised for improvement.
“It seems like the whole team swinging the bat well, pitching pretty well,” he said. “It feels like we’re ready to go into the season.”