Head coach Kale Gilmore didn’t mince words when discussing one of the best hitters that Broomfield baseball has ever seen.
“When your best player is also your hardest working player, then really magical things can happen. We were fortunate enough this year to have our best player be the hardest working guy that we had,” the Eagles first-year head coach quipped.
Now-graduated catcher Camden Ross possessed no shortage of magic on the diamond as he helped lead his boys to a Class 5A state crown this spring.
A titan behind the plate and beside it, Ross became a formidable force for any pitcher that dared to cross his path. For that, he earned the BoCoPreps.com player of the year as well as CHSAA’s Class 5A player of the year.
No game proved that assessment more than that of the Eagles’ state championship matchup earlier this month when Ross launched the first pitch he saw from Legacy starter Senan Heys over the wall to give BHS an early 3-0 lead.
From there on out, the Lightning gave him the superstar treatment that he more than deserved as he reached base on a hit by pitch and two walks. He took those snubs in stride and turned his attention elsewhere.
“Instead of making it about him that day, he turns to the guy next to him in Gavin Speirs, who had to hit behind him for the last half of the year and says, ‘Hey, I trust you,’” Gilmore said. “That’s the kind of kid that he is, that he can look to somebody else and try to help them out and bring them along. That’s the type of leader that he is.”
Ross, of course, didn’t want his senior season to end on anything other than the highest note possible. He put in the work to make sure that it would happen, lifting and hitting nearly every day in the offseason as well as practicing drill after drill with his club team’s catching coach.
The numbers that followed spoke for themselves: a .627 batting average, 44 runs, 52 hits, 49 RBI, 11 home runs and 23 stolen bases. Even on a team as talented as Broomfield, Ross stood alone.
“It’s just making yourself uncomfortable in practice so you’re comfortable in the games,” Ross explained. “I’m just catching a higher velocity than I’ll see in the game so I’ll be comfortable in the game, hitting off of a higher velocity so nothing’s going to overpower me in the game.”
Ross’ guidance, of course, began much earlier than the state playoffs. When the Eagles began their season with a modest 5-7 record, he didn’t let that mark deflate them. Instead, he turned to each individual teammate, instilled the confidence he had in them, and emphasized that no player was better than the next.
Their setback against Boulder on April 14 ignited a hot streak that couldn’t be extinguished. The Eagles won 16 of their final 18 games and rode that momentum all the way to the Colorado high school history books.
“Halfway through the season, when we lost to Boulder, we weren’t having fun,” Ross said. “Everybody was trying to do too much. And then we just decided that we’re going to have fun with the game because baseball is a kid’s sport, and it’s supposed to be fun. … That’s what really got us playing our game.”
All of the intensity and ferocity that defined Ross at the plate will only serve him well for his future now that his high school career is behind him. He’ll begin a new chapter at Wabash Valley College, where he hopes to win a junior college national championship before moving onto a Power 5 school and, maybe one day, get drafted.
Gilmore believes he has all the right tools to set him up for success as he continues down his diamond-studded path.
“On the field, he’s obviously one of the fiercest competitors that I’ve ever coached,” Gilmore said. “It’s very strange in baseball to be able to rein in that intensity and still have the discipline to do what he did at the plate. And for me, that’s just a tremendous amount of credit to him to be able to be that intense, that fiery, yet that disciplined to be able to accomplish what he did at the plate.”