BRISTOL - Bryce Ramsay has asserted himself as one of the best hitters in the Bristol Blues lineup, but it was only a few short months ago when it didn’t look like the University of Hartford catcher would even be playing this season.
Yet here Ramsay is, months after needing “nearly three-quarters” of his left index finger removed following a freak accident. Ramsay got the finger caught in a steel door just a week before the college season started, breaking it and ripping most of the skin off.
The finger was reattached, but Ramsay was still out of baseball activities for over two months.
“It was tough because I didn’t really know what was going to happen,” Ramsay said. “I hated it because, even though it was a freak accident I couldn’t really control, I still let my team [at Hartford] down in a way.”
The injury didn’t shy the Blues away from wanting to add Ramsay on to the roster. In fact, manager Ronnie Palmer didn’t even know about it.
“We needed some depth at the [catcher] position and [general manager Brian Rooney] called around and found out he was available,” Palmer said. “I didn’t even know [the injury] was a thing until I randomly overheard someone talking about it one day.”
From the manager’s perspective, it doesn’t even seem as though anything happened.
“You watch him play the game and you can’t even tell,” Palmer said. “He’s a great player and he doesn’t let the fact that he broke his finger like that affect him at all. That shows you the kind of ballplayer and the kind of guy he is.”
Ramsay admitted that getting back on the field was nerve-racking at first. But once he got some at-bats and innings under his belt, he was OK.
“Those first few games were definitely tough,” Ramsay said. “But it all comes down to muscle-memory. Once I started really catching and swinging, I picked it back up quickly.”
Ramsay hasn’t let the injury or the time missed affect his productivity on the field. The Barkhamsted native has a .359 average in 12 games this season for the Blues, the second highest on the team. His 14 hits and eight walks combine to give him an on-base percentage of .468, also the second best among Blues hitters.
“After missing all of that time, it was really about just trying to find my swing again,” Ramsay said. “I’ve been working with the coaches pretty much every day. Offensively, I just try to have the same approach against the arms you’re seeing. It’s just about staying consistent and staying the same and getting your work in off the field.”
The offensive surge comes a year after Ramsay struggled in his freshman season at Hartford, hitting just .115 in 32 games. But this summer with the Blues has given the catcher a newfound confidence in himself.
“When something like that happens, it definitely shakes you up a little bit,” Ramsay said. “But playing on the Blues this season has been a tremendous experience. Playing with these guys and being able to contribute has reminded me that I can play baseball at a high level.”
With the Blues headed into the Futures League playoffs next week, there’s no doubt Ramsay will be a prominent figure on the squad. Considering what he has had to overcome, the Blues couldn’t ask for a better person leading the postseason charge.
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org