A change in schools helped change his outlook and then an injury helped RJ Gordon decide on a career path.
Gordon, a senior at Wooster, hit for the cycle last month in a baseball game against McQueen. It is believed to be the first time a player has hit for the cycle, a single, double, triple and home run, this season in Northern Nevada.
Gordon said he heard it was the first cycle in many years in the area. His home run that day was a grand slam.
“I swear I took the easiest hack I’ve ever had and it went out,” Gordon said. “After that home run everyone gave me the silent treatment. It was pretty funny.”
He is friends with McQueen pitcher, Dylan Thomas, and he told Thomas beforehand he was going to hit a triple off him that day.
“It just kind of happened. Just playing as hard as you can,” he said. “That was the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”
Gordon grew up in the Damonte Ranch area, but goes to Wooster for its International Baccalaureate program.
Because Wooster draws from every neighborhood in the area for the IB program, some of the sports teams struggle as athletes are not accustomed to playing with each other.
“That was kind of a wake-up call for us,” his mother, Suzann Gordon, said of the change in schools. “But it’s good to learn that it’s not all about wins and losses.”
Gordon was a pitcher for much of his youth, but that took a toll on his arm and he suffered an elbow injury. Gordon plays first base for the Colts. That elbow injury gave him an appreciation for physical therapists, which he hopes to become.
Although the Colts season will end this week — they play at Hug on Tuesday and host the Hawks on Wednesday — Gordon appreciates how much the young team has grown.
He said batting .400 was a goal this season and he has accomplished that, batting .407 with a .644 on-base percentage and three triples.
He also wanted to be a team leader.
“Because (Wooster) has a lot of juniors. Taking responsibility for things, I wanted to do that,” Gordon said. “I wanted to make the playoffs too. … A lot of it came down to a lot of little errors, little silly errors cost us a lot.”
Wooster coach Ron Malcolm has seen Gordon grow up over the past four years.
“He’s bought into the team concept of what we do here at Wooster and what’s required of him,” Malcolm said. “He’s learned to be a good teammate. He’s become a decent little leader. He’s learned to overcome adversity.”
Malcolm called baseball, “a game of embarrassment.”
He said Gordon has matured on the field.
“You can embarrass the ballclub in a hurry, a couple of errors here, and if you overcome those things and get to the next at-bat and the next pitch and understand it, you’re going to have success at this game,” Malcolm said. “It’s about the mental game.”
Gordon hopes to continue to play baseball at Central Washington and study kinesiology there.