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05/04/2023 08:34 AM

Wilkes University-Commit Rogers a Rousing Leader for Valley Baseball

Senior captain and infielder Lucas Rogers has helped lead the Valley Regional baseball team to another state tournament berth already this spring, and he will be continuing along the basepaths in college–committing to Wilkes University. Photo courtesy of Lucas Rogers

Lucas Rogers knew that the final year of his career with the Valley Regional baseball team would prove to be a pivotal one, and so he diligently put in the extra time and effort in his downtime–producing a path to solo success, a leadership role, and a spot with a collegiate program.

The senior captain and infielder for the Warriors’ baseball squad started the sport with humble beginnings of swinging the wiffle ball bat in the backyard before moving onto tee-ball, also adding and dropping basketball upon reaching high school to stay focused on the diamond. Moreso, Lucas has committed to continuing his baseball career by planning to play at Wilkes University next spring in 2024.

“It is really just the people for me,” says Lucas on his source of passion for America’s pastime. “This is a great team here; many of us have been playing together since we were young and are best friends. I am really proud of the work I have put into the game over the years. My hitting was not great last year, but I picked up my hitting this season, and it helped me get noticed by colleges. Committing to Wilkes has been a great way to see where I am at with the game.”

Lucas gets the biggest adrenaline rush in the infield by being part of turning two to help get his pitchers out of a jam. Yet he notes that the position is not all honor and glory, because it can also be a mentally taxing and draining assignment by being a defensive signal caller.

“When it comes to the infield, I love turning double plays; they are so rewarding to be a part of,” Lucas says. “Some of the harder aspects of it are staying focused. You have to know who is cutting off the throw in any situation, and then you also have to make sure everyone is in the right position.”

Starting out a stint as captain by missing some reps on the field can appear to be a major letdown on the surface, though Lucas has labored his way back to the dirt rather quickly in making up for lost time.

“Being a captain has been a great experience for me. Being a leader on this team is a lot of fun,” says Lucas, as the Warriors captured four straight contests after a 3-4 start to 2023. “I missed the first few games this season with an illness. I struggled to get back, but it means so much to now be back out there.”

Valley Regional baseball skipper Brian Drinkard details that Lucas is someone who is an all-tool athlete on the field and along the basepaths, while additionally being an individual who takes the captain designation very much to heart.

“Lucas is a great senior captain on our team,” says Drinkard. “He is a solid all-around player who can play almost any position. He is a great teammate and a leader of our team. He works extremely hard and has a very good baseball IQ. He is playing a solid defensive game as well.”

Hitting the gym hard in the offseason has led to Lucas hitting the cover off the ball at a consistent pace while charging to it at an even faster pace when on the defensive front. Yet mentally, he knows that in a sport so predicated on averages and faltering more often than flourishing, one must keep their head held high at all times.

“My hitting has been great. I worked out to get bigger and faster, and it has helped me offensive and defensively this season. I am able to also get to the ball a bit quicker,” says Lucas, who is hitting to the tune of a .458 batting average this spring. “Baseball is one of the most mentally-challenging sports out there. Confidence is the biggest part of the mental game with baseball, because without it, you cannot do well. I keep my confidence high, stay up, and make sure I am not doubting myself.”

As Lucas and the Warriors are looking to take the next step and attain a team objective they have been on the precipice of the last few campaigns, he is looking to have the same game mentality towards achieving further solo accolades on the diamond and in the classroom once he moves onto his new campus next year.

“This year as a team, we want to win the Shoreline Conference title and make a deep run in states,” says Lucas. “For college, I want to stay in good shape and be the best player I can be out there. I also want to do the same with school and grow academically at all times.”

No matter how many stats or measures of success the game of baseball throws at any given player, Lucas lectures that the sport can teach an individual a great deal about persistence through pushback. In his comments surrounding his current club in the waning stages of his time with Valley, Lucas is simply thankful for playing the game he holds so dear with the peers he hoists in high regard.

“With failure, you know you will fail in baseball. Yet when you fail in a game and get back in there, it prepares you for life,” Lucas says. “Valley baseball has been a lot of fun for me. I get to play with my friends, and many of us have played together on varsity since our sophomore years. It has been a great opportunity to get to know my friends in a new way while playing with them.”