Senior Spotlight: Hartselle’s Andrew Rittman
With the cancellation of the spring sports season, the Enquirer is spotlighting senior athletes from its coverage area with Q-and-A stories. We’ll look to touch base with many more seniors over the next few weeks.
Andrew Rittman is a senior pitcher for the Hartselle Tigers. He grew up wanting to play for the Tigers after he saw them win the 2013 State Championship.
He was primarily a reliever during his career but the one memory that stands out for him was when he was called on to start a game. With just a few minutes notice, he pitched three strong innings and led the Tigers to victory over Rogers (AR) in a tournament in Tennessee.
Unfortunately for Rittman, his season was cut short due to the spread of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, he is no stranger to losing a season as an ACL tear ended his freshman season.
The AHSAA moved to cancel the spring sports season on March 27th after Governor Kay Ivey announced on March 26th that schools would be canceled for the remainder of the school year.
The Enquirer spoke with Rittman about his baseball career and the disappointment he has experienced due to the cancellation of his season.
Q: When did you get started playing baseball?
A: I started playing baseball in the city, dixie youth baseball league at 5.
Q: When did you know you wanted to play for the Tigers?
A: I would go to high school games when I was little with my brother and dad. After the 2013 championship game, I knew I wanted to be a Hartselle Tiger. The team played so well together and had fun. I knew when I grew up I wanted to play on the big field with the wall.
Q: What was it like waiting for your moment to come?
A: I tore my ACL very early in my freshman year and knew it would be a long road back to get playing time. Especially with pitching, there is 1 pitcher on the field at a time so playing time is hard to come by. By my junior year, I was more of a middle relief guy. Later that year we were playing in Collierville, TN against Rogers (AR). I was not a starter and did not plan to pitch that day and 10 min before the start, Coach Booth told me I would be starting that game. I couldn’t describe the complete utter joy I had at that moment. I went 3 innings with 6 strikeouts and 3 earned runs. We won 13-3. This season I only got to close 2 games, Russellville and Bob Jones.
Q: What were your thoughts when you got the news that your season had come to a close, long before you had planned?
A: We took the coronavirus as a joke at first thinking it wouldn’t affect our season at all. When we started hearing rumors about the season being canceled at our 3rd Bob Jones game it started to set in that this could be it. We went into the Saturday games with a mentality of not taking it for granted. Everybody got to play in those games. Then on Monday Coach Booth called a meeting and we talked and he hoped it would be postponed because there was something special about that team. We were told to clean our lockers out for cleaning, But we all had a feeling he knew what was about to happen. Our last time as a team in that locker room. It was our last time coming to 6:15 workouts and hitting. The last time having FCA meetings and my last time praying over the boys before they take the field. This was my last time buttoning the pins number 12 jersey. It had hit home when we knew we couldn’t make one last run for the ring.
Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
A: I plan to go to college at Calhoun and Work through the F.A.M.E program in Industrial Maintenance.