Ogi Overman on Ragsdale jersey retirements

Ragsdale retires 3 baseball jerseys
by Ogi Overman:Jamestown News
(This article was sent to us and we did not remove this from The Jamestown News. Thank-you Mr. Overman.)

Itâ€s not exactly Fenway Park, but there is one aspect of Ragsdale High Schoolâ€s baseball stadium that bears a strong resemblance to the famed Boston landmark. It adorns the left field fence instead of the right field façade at Fenway, and it contains only half as many symbols, but the symbolism and intended effect is identical.

On Tuesday, April 29 the Jamestown high school retired the numbers of three of its most celebrated baseball players — Chad Baker, Trevor Mullins and Ronnie Smith — and three baseball-shaped discs with their respective names and numbers will hang from the fence in perpetuity. The ceremony, which also recognized the clubâ€s seven seniors, took place before Ragsdaleâ€s game with Randleman. Officials in attendance included Guilford County Schools superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green and school principal Dr. Kathy Rogers. Master of ceremonies for the event was former Ragsdale All-State basketball player Jim Modlin.

As a freshman in 2001, Chad Baker gave a preview of things to come when he homered in his first game. The roundtripper sparked a seventh-inning rally that saw the team bat around. In that same inning Baker came up again, this time doubling in the game-winning run in a 7-6 win over Eastern Guilford. Many longtime observers point to that rally as the turning point that has made Ragsdale one of this decadeâ€s 3-A powerhouses.

In his four-year prep career, Baker was the conference and team MVP three times, as well as an All-State and All-Area performer. He accepted a scholarship to Catawba College, and just as in high school, became a starter as a freshman. On a team that had three players drafted by the major leagues last year, the second baseman hit over .300 for his career with 20 homers.

Trevor Mullins is arguably the finest pitcher ever produced by Ragsdale. The right-hander was the state high school pitcher of the year in 2006, when he won 16 games and led the Tigers to the state championship finals, where they lost two games to one. That marked the second-highest total in state history, and his 30 career wins is a school record. Mullins was a three-time All-Conference selection as well as being both the Mid-Piedmont 3-A and Area Player of the Year.

After transferring from Appalachian State, Mullins followed his high school teammate Baker to Catawba, where he is a junior. A member of the starting rotation, currently he is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 61 innings. He tossed a complete-game three-hitter recently.

Ronnie Smith led Ragsdale to its first state title game, in the early 1970s, and in the process also became the schoolâ€s first All-State player. He played for the fabled 1971 Burtner Post 53 American Legion team, and after a stellar career at High Point College (now University), the right-fielder with a cannon for a right arm went into coaching. He began as a baseball coach at High Point Central, moving to Southeast Guilford and finally to his alma mater as an assistant football coach and head track coach.

Smith died August 31, 2007 of a rare form of muscle cancer at age 53. But the much-loved coachâ€s memory lives on with a golf tournament and track meet that bears his name, and now another fitting tribute.

Ironically, both Smith and Baker wore No. 1, and Mullins wore No. 12. But no one at Ragsdale will ever wear either of them again.