RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Brett Baker is thriving as a first-year starter for the Ridgefield High School boys lacrosse team. As the leading scorer on a team ranked second in the state, he is helping the Tigers establish themselves as a contender for a second state title in three years.
Baker has been named The Daily Voice’s Athlete of the Month for Fairfield County for April. The senior has 33 goals and 10 assists in nine games for the unbeaten Tigers.
“We had high expectations before the season began,’’ Baker said. “Every year we have two goals, win the league and the states. We start out every year with those goals in mind.”
He played a significant role last year for the Tigers coming off the bench. With several high-scoring seniors, he had 12 goals in 13 games as the Tigers reached the Class LL championship game, where they lost to Fairfield Prep.
“Not starting last year was motivation for me going into the summer,’’ Baker said. “I worked hard to earn that starting spot.”
Baker’s work last summer also impressed college coaches. He committed to play for Bryant University. head coach Mike Pressler, a former Wilton star, who saw Baker in summer camps and offered him a scholarship.
“He said there are a lot of guys who play on good programs that are hidden; they don’t get a lot of looks during the year,’’ Baker said. “When they get to play in the summer, they can really stand out. He’s a highly regarded coach, and he’s been around enough to know how to find the good players. It was surprising. I wanted to go to college to play lacrosse.”
Improved strength and speed plus experience have made Baker one of the most dangerous players in the state this spring. He had a career-high six goals in Saturday’s 12-6 win over highly regarded John Jay of New York.
“We have a lifting schedule during the winter, and I was lifting every week,’’ Baker said. “Game awareness and being in the right place at the right time are also big. We’ve been working a lot on my footwork, and that has helped a lot.”
Baker and the Tigers have been unbeatable, but the most demanding part of Ridgefield’s schedule is ahead. The Tigers play Yorktown on Tuesday (the game will be televised regionally on MSG) and have games remaining with the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s upper echelon, including Wilton, Darien, New Canaan and St. Joseph. Fairfield Prep is ranked No. 1 in the state, and the Tigers could play them for the Class LL championship for the third straight year.
“Prep’s a huge rivalry,’’ Baker said. “I think we’ll see them at the end, and you can’t count out Greenwich. We’ve already beaten them, but that doesn’t mean anything in the playoffs. We’re all fighting for the same thing. We definitely want to get that state title back.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.