Northwestern’s Risedorf risks CIAC eligibility to go to MLB workouts

Due to a CIAC rule Northwestern's Zach Risedorf will be ruled ineligible once he attends workouts with MLB teams at the end of May. Pete Paguaga - Register Citizen

Due to a CIAC rule Northwestern’s Zach Risedorf will be ruled ineligible once he attends workouts with MLB teams at the end of May.
Pete Paguaga – Register Citizen

Last week Northwestern’s Zach Risedorf was invited to work out for three Major league Baseball teams, the San Diego Padres, the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

All three workouts take place during the last week of May. If Risedorf goes, he will be ruled ineligible by the CIAC.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Risedorf said. “Ultimately, it’s my goal and my dream to play in the pros.”

After thinking long and hard about what to do and with the support of his parents Shane and Diane, Risedorf has decided that he will be attending the workouts on May 25 in Cincinnati for the Padres, May 26 in Amherst, Mass., for the Pirates and a date that has not been determined for the Reds.

Northwestern’s Zach Risedorf will workout for the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pete Paguaga — Register Citizen

Northwestern’s Zach Risedorf will workout for the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pete Paguaga — Register Citizen

“We sat down and asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wants to go,” his father, Shane Risedorf said.

Risedorf will only miss the Highlanders’ final regular season game on May 27 against Lewis Mills and any state tournament games they might play in.

“I had to sit down and really weigh the pros and cons,” Risedorf said. “I had to see what was more important for me as a person. Obviously, I don’t want to leave my team. It pains me that I have to do that. It was a little heart-aching. I knew it would be a tough decision.”

Article XII of the CIAC by-laws states, “Participation as an individual or as a member on a non-school sponsored team in a sports competition, practice, showcase, try-out, camp or clinic in the same branch of athletics during the authorized contest season will render the athlete ineligible for all interscholastic athletics unless the athlete is reinstated by the CIAC Board of Control. (Season is defined as the date of the first contest for that school and concluding with either the CIAC final tournament game or the New England Championships).”

If the workouts had happened prior to the beginning of the baseball season, Risedorf wouldn’t have had any issues.

Before coming to the decision though, Northwestern’s athletic director Fred Williams spoke to two members of the CIAC on Wednesday about getting Risedorf an exception, which was denied.

“The CIAC has the safety of the kids in mind,” Williams said. “I talked to two different guys and they don’t grant exceptions here.”

“You can see both sides of the story. It’s tough for a kid, it’s an awkward position to be in.”

The CIAC does grant exceptions in other cases.

If the student-athlete was trying out for the Olympic or Pan American Games, if they participated in a one national governing body (NGB) sponsored national tournament, in an international competition (sports not sponsored by the International Olympics Committees) or if the student-athlete participated in a college audition, where they are invited by a college coach to visit the campus and participate in workouts by themselves or with teammates or in a clinic offered by a college.

Risedorf traveled down to Miami the last two winters to participate in the Power Showcase at Marlins Park with 130 of the brightest young baseball players in the nation, while participating in the Power Showcase’s community outreach initiative “Home Runs that Help.” He has the support of his good friend and fellow captain John Lippincott and his coach Tom Germano.

“I haven’t told anyone else but Johnny,” Risedorf said. “At first, he wasn’t too keen on the idea but after we talked about it for a while, he said that everyone on the team would want me to strive for what I want to do He’s (Germano) happy for me.”

Risedorf was named a Perfect Game All-American before this season and last season batted .617 with 39 hits, 21 doubles and two home runs in 26 games, on top of being the best defensive catcher in the Berkshire League, while leading the Highlanders to the Class M final last season, where they lost to St. Joseph 2-1 in nine innings.

Risedorf, who is committed to UConn next season, is looking at being drafted this summer and going to these workouts could help him.

“His dream is to play baseball. He’s trying to make a living at it,” Shane Risedorf said.

If he were to get drafted and sign with the MLB team that drafted him, on top of a signing bonus, Risedorf will receive scholarship money so that he could go back to college whenever he wanted.

Just because he will be ruled ineligible doesn’t mean that Risedorf will be out of the picture as he plans on being there to support his teammates.

“Absolutely if I can make it I will be there,” he said.


  1. Pete C. says

    This is ridiculous, if he had been showcasing for a college team, or olympic event, then it would be ok. But since his talents are being considered for the next level the CIAC invokes a, “safety of the student athlete” clause and will declare him ineligible? Im curious, how many players will play in the state tournament this year that have gone to a showcase event during this season.. Isn’t their “safety” just as paramount as his? This is simple, let him play.

  2. UBilly says

    I understand the CIAC has to consider the safety of all the athletes out there and not just Risedorf, but isn’t that what exceptions are for? The CIAC needs to relook at their rules and compare them to other states so our athletes are not put at competitive disadvantage to get to the next level, or in this case, the level beyond that.
    Club teams and AAU sports are growing too, affecting many HS kids. The CIAC should encourage the best athletes to continue to play sports for their local high schools. If the top athletes are forced to chose, most will look at which path will get them the best exposure to college coaches. This can then diminish the competitiveness of high school athletics further.
    We all love high school athletics – I hope the CIAC will look for ways to keep all our top athletes involved and not use rules to force these decisions which push kids out!

  3. PapaDags says

    He can’t wait till after the season??….These teams and colleges ALREADY know about him if he is as good as they say he is…I wish him the best but am glad he doesn’t play for my son’s HS Baseball team if he is willing ready and able to quit just before the would think getting beat in the finals last yr by st joes would be enough incentive to go out there with your teammates and show some leadership and finish the job..other than that it sounds like a most selfish don’t give a shit attitude….what ever happened to loyalty

    • gobballfan says

      I’m sure if this were your kid, you’d have a different attitude. CIAC needs to adjust rules a bit. If it’s about safety, then what is the difference if he goes to a college or olympic showcase, rather than a pro day? No it can’t be done after the season. The pro draft follows these pro days and they get kids from all over the country and see them in a group. They don’t have scouts running to every HS baseball game looking for kids. And if my kid were a teammate of his, I bet he would be the first one cheering him on and wishing him luck. Kids miss games for SATs, should they be treated the same way you think this talented kid should be treated? He is pursuing his dream of playing pro baseball, just as a kid taking SATs is trying to get into college. Good luck Zach

    • gator32301 says

      well, he was the one asking for a reasonable exception so as to finish the year out. i think the better example of lack of loyalty would be the CIAC to its players.

  4. Gramma says

    Zachary is a great kid and I am very very proud of him. He will make it no matter what decision he makes. I can only tell you don’t count your chickens until the eggs are laid. His heart is in baseball and he has all the talent to back it up. I love you Zach

    • PapaDags says

      I TRULY wish him the best, just don’t see why not wait and finish what you started…The Pros can and will wait a week or 2.. It’s time to take charge and Govern your own future. They will wait if the talent level is what all seem to believe it is. Best of luck Zach

  5. says

    If the kid isn’t getting paid by the pros to try out, he should be allowed to play with his HS team after his tryouts. This rule seems misplaced.
    I hope cooler headers prevale.

  6. Player says

    FYI he isnt going to the workouts … He’s staying with his team …. I’m sure he didn’t want all this negative press .

Leave a Reply