Trent Richter’s three years at Western Nebraska Community College has paid off as the Scottsbluff High graduate inked Thursday with Dickinson State College in Dickinson, North Dakota, to continue his baseball pitching career.
Richter, who was a key contributor to the Cougars’ Region IX title in May, said he is thrilled to continue pitching at Dickinson State, an NAIA school that will start building a state-of-the-art baseball facility with artificial turf.
“I am very excited about it [going to Dickinson State],” Richter said. “Being able to extend my career and education out to the next level. It will be an interesting trip up.”
His decision to attend Dickinson State was an easy one considering he gets to help rebuild a baseball program.
“I really liked Coach Michael Dahl and the rest of the coaching staff,” Richter said. “They gave me a pretty good scholarship so I all I have to pay for is my apartment. The field is really nice and the program is just starting up again after a couple years not being there. I am excited to help go there and help build that program up.”
Last season, the Blue Hawks went 15-25 and placed four players on the North Star All-Conference team.
Richter is ready to head to Dickinson State and improve his game even more from what he did while at WNCC.
At WNCC, Richter red-shirted his first year and then in the 2019-20 season, he appeared in just four games with one save and just five earned runs before the season was halted because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Last season was what really pushed Richter to a new level. Richter started 11 games with 14 appearances. He tossed 56.1 innings in striking out 48 and finishing with a 7.67 ERA in helping the Cougars notch the programs second Region IX title.
Richter said that Region IX title will be something he won’t forget, including competing against in the district finals in Arizona and facing one of the top baseball teams in the nation in Central Arizona College.
“Those are memories that I will never forget,” he said. “Being able to bring back a plague and hang it up and then always to come back here and see it and be a part of this program’s history and what an accomplishment this program made.”
Richter said it helped him tremendously coming to WNCC in improving his pitching.
“I am not a power, fastball guy anymore,” he said. “Being able to move the ball around is what Coach [Mike] Jones and Coach [Ryan] Burgner helped me with like getting my off-speed pitches to actually move and to throw in the right spots. That was a big help.”
Richter said coming to WNCC over a four-year school was definitely very beneficial for him.
“It really helped me out when I first came here,” Richter said. “I was not all there mentally. My first year we had three of our top guys showing me how to deal with the mental stress of pitching. That really helped me. It really is fun to watch collegiate pitchers pitch, do their job and go out there every day, work hard, and come back and have it show.”
Richter thinks baseball players really need to look into attending a junior college.
“I definitely think junior college is the way to go. It is cheaper and you get a lot more innings than going from high school to D1,” he said. “You get to work the same amount of days and everything is the same with the upper level. But you get more one-on-one with the coaches. That is fun to know exactly how to fix things and improve your game.”
That is exactly what Richter did, he became a better player by grinding away in getting better. Richter said his baseball skills have improved so much from middle school through college.
“The skills have definitely jumped especially going from middle school to high school and then to college,” he said. “All my coaches really helped me out a lot with everything I needed whether it be baseball or life. It not only made me a better player, but a better person also.”
Richter spent a short time on the Western Nebraska Pioneers as a short-term contract player. Now, he isn’t with the team, but he will see if any other possibilities pop up, including pitching for the Badland Big Sticks, who are located in Dickinson, North Dakota, where he will be attending college next year.
“I was actually on a short-term contract so I am off now, but my goal still is to build the velocity up and once I get up to Dickinson this fall, work on location and get better with the off-speed,” he said. “I haven’t thought about that yet [playing for another team], but we will see what happens in the next couple weeks.”
When Richter gets up to Dickinson, he wants to keep improving and there are things he needs to work on so that he can possibility play baseball after his collegiate playing days are finished.
“As far as right now I just need to work on improving my game even more, just to get looked at,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you go, if you are good enough you will be found. As long as I keep working hard and keep doing what I need to do, I will hopefully get the opportunity to show [my skills to other coaches].”