MVP brings big talent to small school

Valley Christian’s Cordell finishes high school career strong
By: Kayla Dubchansky, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Ryan Cordell was a one of a kind athlete at a small school who made a name for himself in his four years at Valley Christian Academy. This year Cordell was named Sacramento Metro Athletic League baseball co-MVP. “That was really great,” Cordell said. “That’s the first time I’ve gotten any MVPs for baseball. That was really great that it was a good year.” VCA won the league title, but lost the section championship game to league rival Bradshaw Christian, falling 4-2 in the championship game. Cordell shared the MVP honors with Bradshaw’s Brady Dragmire. “He probably should have won the vote outright,” Gunter said. “We decided as a league that the kid from Bradshaw deserved to be there.” The 6-foot-3 Cordell was also a first team all-league player on the basketball court this season. As if his athletic success wasn’t enough, Cordell works hard on the academic side as well, boasting a 3.5 GPA. Gunter described Cordell as the kid who stays late after practice, shows up early and has an incredible work ethic. Gunter should know. He spent a lot of time with Cordell, coaching him in basketball and baseball, as well as holding the position of athletic director for Valley Christian. Cordell attributes his talent to perseverance and doing that little something extra. “Ever since I started playing baseball, just trying to get better every single day and working on the little things makes me as good as I am right now,” Cordell said. Cordell, who was 10-2 on the year with a 1.21 ERA, has had people looking at VCA. The senior right-hander struck out 117 batters while walking just 11 during the season. Gunter described his strikeout-to-walk ratio as “ridiculous.” Cordell was a part of the Lions team that won two consecutive section championships. Along with his tough pitching, Cordell batted .578 with 14 homeruns. “We would never have made it the last two years (without him),” Gunter said. “The first one he was a solid player with us. He’s an impact player at the plate and on the field. The last two years we’ve ridden his arm. Without him we wouldn’t have been in those situations. Last year he got us there and then battled his way through the title game. This year he picked up all three playoff wins. Two in starting spot and closed another. He’s a major reason we had those two section titles.” With the attention Cordell’s gotten this season, he’s been given the opportunity to take it to the next level and play some college baseball. Cordell’s goal has been to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. “Last summer I took a trip back there and went to camp, met coaches and I loved the school. My goal is to play there after a year at Sierra College,” Cordell said. “As far as the career goes I don’t really know, division one college baseball (is the goal) and if that takes me to the pros that’d be great.” Presently, Liberty is unable to give Cordell a scholarship. “He’s just such a great young man,” Gunter said. “He just deserves whatever he gets. When I walk away I don’t have to worry about him whatsoever. And as a coach that’s probably the biggest pat on the back you can give a player.” Cordell currently plans to attend Sierra for a year before transferring to Liberty. However, San Diego Christian has offered Cordell a scholarship. Cordell said he will take a look at San Diego, Both of his parents graduated from the Southern California school.