Cooper Rogers’ route to college baseball hasn’t been the easiest one, but the Elmore County senior finally achieved his goal.
Rogers, a left-handed pitcher, signed his National Letter of Intent with Lurleen B. Wallace Community College last Wednesday. Rogers learned the hard way that coaches don’t “come to you.”
So Rogers went out and found the coaches himself, and he showed the coaches what he could do. In that process, he picked up multiple college offers and ultimately picked Lurleen B. Wallace over the others.
“It’s just good to know you’re wanted somewhere and you’re going to go somewhere after high school,” Rogers said. “They have a really good coaching staff and they were all really down to earth. I knew they wanted something out of me and I knew what I was going to get out of them ahead of time because coach (Michael) Byrd has been there. It was a good campus and it felt like Eclectic put over. it felt like home when I went over there.”
Rogers doesn’t have the most overpowering stuff on the mound. The tall, lanky southpaw isn’t going to step on the mound and throw it past most pitchers. He knows that. And he’s proved he can work around that at the high school level.
Last season, Rogers excelled on the mound over and over again while not overpowering batters. He went 2-0 on the year, but he recorded a 2.86 earned run average in 29 innings pitched across 12 appearances. During that span, he struck out 36 strikeouts batters and walked only 10. He earned two saves for his relief efforts.
“I can definitely keep hitters off balanced,” Rogers said. “I’m not an overpowering pitcher. I don’t throw very hard, but I can flip breaking balls and I have great command so it really helps with creating weak contact.”
Lurleen B. Wallace has been a very successful baseball program under head coach Steve Helms, and the Saints have had a winning record in six of their last 10 seasons. That also includes a winning conference record in five of the last 10 seasons.
The Saints have not been as successful the past few seasons, however. They have not had a winning season since 2019, and have right around .500 since COVID-19 struck in 2020.
They went 8-11 that season, then followed it up with a 24-25 record in 20211 and a 25-27 overall record last season. In conference play, however, they finished 17-15 last year.
Despite the recent struggles, Rogers is planning on helping turn the program back around.
“They’e been very prestigious in the past,” Rogers said. “They’ve had a small decline of late, but coach Helms is really trying to get the program back to where it needs to be and I bought into that when I went and visited.”