Nick Richter readily admits he was not an NCAA Division I baseball prospect during his senior season at Cary-Grove in 2011.
“I didn’t think I was ready,” the former C-G third baseman said. “Both with my body and understanding the game more.”
In the year and a half since, Richter has added 20 pounds, increased his speed and had two highly productive seasons – for McHenry County College in the spring and for the Rockford Foresters over the summer. That added up to a scholarship offer from D-I Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., which Richter recently accepted.
“Because Nick has dedicated himself to being the best possible student-athlete he can be, he now has the opportunity to play D-I baseball and get his education paid for,” MCC coach Jared Wacker said. “He’s always looking to be better, at everything, and I have the utmost respect for that mentality and the things he has accomplished.”
Richter was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection in 2011. He hit .356 with 29 RBIs and went 27 of 29 in stolen bases for the Scots last spring. Last summer with the Foresters he led the Midwest Collegiate Baseball League with 30 stolen bases.
“Speed’s a big part of my game I’ve been working on,” Richter said. “I’m still developing my power. I’ve never hit a lot of home runs. But my 60 [-yard dash] time in high school was 7.1, now it’s 6.7.”
Richter said Rider wants him to play third base and likely hit near the top of the order. Richter hit second for the Scots, just ahead of shortstop Chase Matheson, who committed to D-I Chicago State this fall.
“Coach Wacker and I created a video and sent emails to coaches,” Richter said. “[Rider] liked my video and flew me out there in September. I came back and they had one more guy they needed to see. They offered to me after they saw him.”
Richter, who also considered joining former C-G teammate Michael Vilardo at Penn, will receive half an academic scholarship and athletic money will cover most of the rest of his costs. Rider plays in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, so Richter will play against former C-G teammate Matt Byrne, who plays at Iona.
The junior college route proved to be beneficial for Richter, who will be back at third base and likely in the No. 2 hole for the Scots this spring.
“Some of the biggest areas of development for players is helping him get stronger and faster,” Wacker said. “On the baseball side, he’s such a smart player and has adapted well for the college game. We gave him the experience to do that, rather than sitting or redshirting and watching for a couple years.”