By Michael Gordon
Arlington native Ben Russell’s drive and passion is evident in every aspect of his life.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound former Pantego Christian Academy student is presently a star pitcher for the baseball team at North Lake College. Wearing No. 19, Russell has pitched some of his best games for the Blazers including a no-hitter against Northland Community and Technical College on March 12.
Russell has high hopes for the team claiming they are “better this year than last year” and have “high potential.” He also believes the team can compete with anybody.
With key matchups against Murray State College and Brookhaven College, Russell said the Blazers hope to come away with wins and make a serious playoff push.
Russell credits head baseball coach Corey Mercer with the team’s success. “He knows what he’s doing and is fun to be around,” said Russell, whose ultimate goal is to play professional baseball.
Russell’s favorite team is the Texas Rangers, and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is his favorite professional baseball player.
Tony Rizzioti, Russell’s best friend, is a pitcher for the San Diego Padres. Russell hopes to soon join his friend in the pros. Both his father and grandfather were accomplished athletes.
Russell may just make the majors if he pitches another perfect game. He described throwing the no-hitter as a “cool-experience” and a “big accomplishment.”
Throwing a no-hitter is an accomplishment few baseball pitchers can say they have conquered. “It’s great knowing I can go out there and dominate,” said Russell.
Baseball isn’t his only passion. Russell’s hobbies include fishing with friends and playing ping pong.
He says he doesn’t have time for a girlfriend because his passion and efforts are focused on baseball and academics.
Russell said he is a proud North Lake College student and is happy to be a Blazer.
“It’s a fun college and I love [it here],” said Russell.