Senior Showcase: Ethan Riche pushs through life’s curve ball

Ethan Riche was able to push through after having Tommy John surgery.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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BUNKIE, La. (KALB) - Ethan Riche is the first team all-district baseball player for the Bunkie Panthers. He has been swinging a bat since birth.

The older you get, the tougher the competition gets due to the talent you play against, and he said that travel ball and his first year of high school were a tad different.

“The game was faster,” said Riche. “I played against a lot better teams and older guys that were mature and had a better understanding of the game.”

After he finished his freshmen year playing both varsity and junior varsity, Riche was ready to show how much he progressed on the diamond. In his sophomore year, he and the world had to sit out because of COVID. His junior year comes, and an unfortunate situation occurs.

“The first scrimmage of the junior year, I was pitching in Glenmora and I felt something pop,” said Riche. “I was like that isn’t good, so I threw another pitch, and that didn’t feel right, so I called my coach over. He took me out of the game. We went to go get an MRI the next day and then I find out I had torn my UCL, and I had surgery a week later.”

Two years of his high school career are gone. He was heartbroken because, yet again, the game that he loves has been taken away from him.

“It was hard mentally and physically,” said Riche. “It was just painful because I was so looking forward to playing. I was hitting the weight room hard and training all summer, but it went down the drain.”

He did not stay down for too long, he rehabbed and push himself. Riche got back on the diamond for his senior year. He said when he stepped on the grass, it was pure joy for him and his teammates.

“I loved it,” said Riche. “I couldn’t wait to get back, I was so happy to be back with all my teammates.”

Richie flourished in his senior year, hitting 10 homers, having 60 RBIs and 51 strikeouts. Those stats helped him earn all-region, all-Cenla, all-parish MVP. He will be heading to South Arkansas Community College in August to continue to play baseball. He said although this has been a tough journey, he is glad he never gave up.

“All this hard work is paying off,” said Riche. “Over the four years I have been playing baseball for Bunkie, I had to put in the work to get me to that point. Now that I’m heading to college, work doesn’t stop. Now, I have to keep going.”

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