Thunder's Ruta right at home in Trenton

Matt Leon
May 08, 2018 - 12:17 pm
Trenton Thunder outfielder Ben Ruta

Trenton Thunder

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TRENTON, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- The Trenton Thunder defeated the Phillies AA squad Reading on Monday night, 4-3, at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton.

Thunder outfielder Ben Ruta had the big hit, a two-run fourth inning double to snap a 2-2 tie and cap a four-run inning. That was the latest in a season full of big knocks for Ruta, who is batting .347.

Making this success extra special for Ruta is that he is doing it basically in his back yard. Ruta went to West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, which is about 12 miles away from the Thunder's home park.

"It's a full circle experience for me," Ruta said. "Actually, the little league that we had on the field (Monday night) was my hometown little league. So all those little kids, I was like the same as them a couple years ago, (well) more than a couple years ago. I'm just in a fortunate spot to be close to home and get to play in a stadium I grew up going to and watching the game. It's cool."

The 23-year-old Ruta played his college ball on Staten Island at Wagner College, and the Yankees drafted him in the 30th round in 2016.

"I grew up a Yankee fan, so I was thrilled when they took me, and just to be a part of this culture is just an awesome experience and one I'm definitely just trying to enjoy and work hard for and try to get to the big leagues," he says.

Ruta's parents recently moved out of the area, so he is staying with his best friend's family. He says just being on his home turf makes life a lot easier as a minor league ballplayer.

"Not having to worry about getting an apartment and then paying all those fees that come with that," he says. "I don't have to worry about anything, I know how to get here every day, I know all the surrounding restaurants, all that stuff. There's no going on Google, wasting time like that. I'm just, 'Alright, I want to go here today.'"

Ruta and the Thunder continue their series with Reading on Tuesday night.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.