For many people, 13 is considered an unlucky number. For Ethan Snyder, it’s just the number of years he’s been playing baseball. In that time, he’s played for several different teams and programs, including Louisa Little League, travel teams in Midlothian and Richmond and, of course, the Louisa Lions high school team.
Snyder’s not planning on stopping with 13 years, though. He’ll play for the Hampden-Sydney Tigers beginning next season.
“Hampden-Sydney was the first school that made me feel like I was part of their program,” he said. “Meeting the players and having them talk to me like I was already on the team was something that really stuck with me.”
Snyder also cited the school’s smaller student-to-professor ratio and the involved faculty as elements that attracted him.
Though he has played in the outfield and at third base on occasion, Snyder’s primary position with the Lions has long been as pitcher, and it’s that position he’ll play for the Tigers.
“Pitchers get to control the game,” he said. “When the game is in session, everything revolves around the pitcher. If you’re doing well, the game’s fun, and if you’re not the game can be slow. It’s always a learning experience.”
His years playing baseball have come with a number of lessons about how to play the game well, and how to be successful pitcher.
“It’s not an individual sport,” he said. “No matter how good or bad you do, you can contribute to the success of the team. You have to support your teammates and let them know they’re part of the team.”
One of the biggest lessons Snyder has learned about the game is about how to approach it.
“Practice doesn’t make perfect,” he said. “Perfect practice makes perfect. If you [approach] practice like it’s just practice, you’ll play games like they’re practice.”
Academics will naturally play an equal part of Snyder’s college experience. He’s been invited to join Hampden-Sydney’s honors and research fellows program, and plans to take advantage of their dual-degree option. He’ll attend Hampden-Sydney for three years, then graduate with a bachelor’s degree and attend the University of Virginia for two additional years to earn his master’s degree. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in engineering.
Like all high school baseball players across the state, Snyder is missing his senior season with the Lions, but he won’t let that affect how he approaches getting ready to play at the next level. And he’s also taking some important lessons from this experience.
“You can’t take things for granted,” he said. “It can go away at the drop of a hat. You have to be proactive to better your situation when something like this happens.”