Rogers excels at Moravian College
When Salisbury High School graduate Chase Rogers steps to the plate, he’s just looking for a pitch to drive.
The Moravian College catcher did a lot of traveling during a solid junior season when he hit for a .272 average and forged a .362 on-base percentage while clubbing two home runs and chauffeuring home 16 runs in a career-high 28 games.
More impressive was his clutch-hitting prowess against conference foes, as Rogers slammed a .324 average and registered a .432 on-base percentage for coach Paul Engelhardt’s Greyhounds.
“I’m just looking for a fastball so I can drive the ball,” the former Salisbury High School star says of his batting philosophy. “I’m an alley hitter.”
Earlier in his career Rogers sometimes became “too passive” at the plate, he said, falling behind 0-1 and 0-2 in an attempt to find the “right pitch.” He realized some pitchers are going to come right at him and the best pitch can often be the first pitch.
Rogers also realized there’s a fine line between being aggressive and being reckless at the plate and seems to have found the right groove for the Greyhounds during the 2018 campaign, as he walked 11 times in 92 plate appearances to accompany his swat work.
Rogers is more than a gap hitter. Once on the base paths he knows how to pick them up and put them down, scoring 15 runs and pilfering three bases during the season. Part of his dexterity running the diamond is because he knows how to get a good jump and run the bases. Rogers is also shrewd, using his catcher’s cunning to steal the opposition’s signs to help him time his break.
His baseball acumen isn’t a surprise because Rogers always has his head into the game, making up half of the Greyhounds’ battery behind the plate.
“Calling a game with everybody is a little different,” he said.
Being a good catcher is more than putting down two or three fingers. Rogers is playing a game of chess with the hitter, essentially looking to mentally unravel the man holding the lumber. Heading into the 2019 campaign, he says “he knows the profiles” of the opposition’s better batters, which will he hopes turns their mighty sticks into toothpicks.
Rogers says becoming a catcher was more pragmatic than aspirational. As a high school Falcon, Rogers was engaged in a “friendly rivalry” with his best friend and teammate Evan Kulig, who also had designs to play the hot corner.
“I was just trying to get on the field as soon as possible,” Rogers recalls of his catching career. It proved to be an astute decision, as he went on to have a sterling high school career that led to his recruitment and eventual signing with Moravian.
Rogers calls Kulig - who he’s known since third grade and now patrols third base for the Greyhounds - “his best friend.” The friendship helped make his transition from Salisbury to Moravian an easier one.
His most momentous Greyhound moment came in his freshman season when playing full-time as an outfielder. Rogers stepped to the dish a slammed a pitch - a fastball - to the opposite field for his first collegiate grand tour.
Growing up Rogers threw a lot of baseballs in the yard with his father, Rick, and eventually developed a respect and love for the timeless American pastime. A sterling career followed at Salisbury High School, where he became a four-time letter winner. A fan of the Boston Red Sox, Rogers’ idol was Boston’s David Ortiz.
Rogers hopes to make a pilgrimage to friendly Fenway this summer as Boston tussles with the Yankees for American League East supremacy. One more season of collegiate tussles awaits Rogers in 2019, after which he will graduate with a degree in accounting.
“We have a lot coming back,” he says of the Greyhounds’ prospects for next season. Rogers is a major part of the machine returning next spring at Moravian.