Middle Creek saved ace senior pitcher Tucker Rogers for Friday’s game at Holly Springs, but that doesn’t mean the senior took off Wednesday’s nonconference date to sit in the dugout and chew sunflower seeds.
He played third base and contributed a couple hits and defense in a 10-4 win over Northern Durham. He recorded the game’s final out with runners on second and third when he charged on the infield grass to grab a low blooper.
“He’s our ace, but he’s also one of our best players,” Middle Creek coach Wes King said. “He’s an all-around player. He plays a good third base and has a great bat for us in the four hole. He’s a big leader for us.”
Rogers, who earned All-SWAC honors as a junior, recently committed to play junior college baseball at Louisburg College with the aim to develop his game and mature into a Division I college pitcher. But that doesn’t mean he looked past producing his senior year.
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“I wanted to hit for average this year instead of just lifting the ball,” Rogers said. “I wanted to contribute to the team as an all-around player. It’s important to me to help out the team in every aspect I can. I want do what I can for us to win.”
Rogers said he got his start in baseball “throwing the ball around with my Dad” and has never looked back. The first big step was the chance to play for Middle Creek’s perennially strong program.
“This is a great place to play,” he said. “Coach King and all the coaches run a great program here. We win a lot of games, make the playoffs and they can get you into a good college.”
King cites the 6-2, 215-pounder’s ability to throw three pitches as a foundation for a future.
“I think he can be a big-time Division I college player,” King said. “He needs more seasoning, which he’ll get at Louisburg playing 60 college games. They’ll develop him. He has three-plus pitches. He has a good fastball, a good curveball and a great changeup. He’s made great strides every year he’s been here.”
Rogers committed to Louisburg two months ago.
“It’s a good program, a good fit for me and it’s close to home,” Rogers said. “It’s a good option for me to get to where I want to go.”