Ricks to play baseball for Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets

Published 10:41 am Monday, August 28, 2023

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Randolph-Macon College’s baseball program will soon find its roster bolstered by a key member of Southampton High School’s pitching staff.

Peyton Ricks, who graduated from Southampton earlier this year, also signed to attend and play baseball for Ashland-based Randolph-Macon.

He made his verbal commitment to play for the Yellow Jackets in November and formalized the arrangement during a June 13 signing ceremony at the SHS auditorium, with family, friends and coaches in attendance.

Ricks said he started playing T-ball when he was 3 years old in Ivor. He played recreational baseball as he grew up, and he was a member of the Southampton Middle School’s junior junior varsity team when he was in eighth grade.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of his freshman season, and he said he played minimally for the Indians as a sophomore, but he became a consistent presence for the varsity squad as a junior and senior, serving primarily as a starting pitcher.

In 2023, Ricks was named to the All-Tri Rivers District First Team as a pitcher, and he also received All-Region 3A honorable mention.

Throughout his high school years, Ricks also honed his skills by playing travel ball, first for the Virginia Blacksox and then for the Dirtbags.

He said he has had a goal of playing college baseball since he was a kid.

I’ve always wanted to see how far I could go with it, and honestly, my goal is to go as far as I can after college, if the opportunity presents itself,” he said.

Ricks received a variety of college offers from different schools in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, including Shenandoah University, Ferrum College, Hampden-Sydney College and Randolph-Macon.

“I was (focused) on Randolph-Macon pretty early, so I didn’t really give a lot of attention to other schools,” he said.

He noted that he liked R-MC from the start because one of his friends, former Southampton standout Carter Johnson, has been playing at third base there, and Ricks has watched the Yellow Jackets play as a result.

“And I went to a (Randolph-Macon) camp, actually, in October right before I signed, and I really liked it,” Ricks said. “It gave me a good ‘home’ vibe, and the environment was kind of small town, just like we are, and I just like that a lot.”

Given his long-held goal of playing college ball, Ricks shared what it meant to him to realize that dream as he signed on the dotted line to play for the Yellow Jackets in June.

“It was a great moment, honestly,” he said. “I was really proud of myself, and just seeing my mom and dad’s faces was pretty cool. My dad, he’s been pushing me on it because he knows how much I want it, and he wants it more than me, I think, but he was real proud, and seeing him like that was pretty cool.”

Peyton’s father, Randy Ricks, coached him when he was younger and also this past season for SHS, where he was hired on as a pitching coach.

Reflecting on what it meant to see Peyton sign to play college ball, Randy said, “I was excited that all the hard work he’s put in over the years has paid off and that he’s going to get to chase his dream of playing baseball at the next level.”

Peyton expressed gratitude to his parents, coaches, teammates and God for helping him reach his current level of achievement.

How Randolph-Macon coaches plan to utilize Ricks on the field will be determined beginning later this year.

“They just told me when we get there in the fall, they’ll ride it out and see what happens,” he said.

He does not anticipate waiting long to be able to see playing time, though.

“They said on first initial look, I should get some good playing time my freshman year,” he said.

Ricks plans to major in business at R-MC, noting that he just wants “to be an entrepreneur or go as far as I can with baseball.”