J.J. Rogers thanked a long list of people as he signed his letter of intent with Seminole State College’s baseball program Wednesday afternoon at Piedmont High School.
He thanked them with good reason, but Rogers’ determination had as much to do with the signing as anything.
“J.J. never gets flustered, he doesn’t show emotion and has a bulldog mentality out on the mound,” Piedmont Head Coach Kory Williams said. “He’s very tough and a great competitor.”
Rogers chose Seminole over Mid-American Christian, Redlands Community College and Southern Nazarene University, which extended a last-minute offer on the day of his signing. The last-ditch effort from SNU didn’t phase Rogers, though.
“I was pretty set on Seminole,” he said, noting legendary Seminole head coach Lloyd Simmons along with the program’s tradition of producing Division I and professional players as the main reasons he picked SSC. “So it didn’t change anything for me.”
Rogers became one of Piedmont’s aces during district play as a junior and has continued that — successfully — this season. Rogers is 4-3 with one save, a 2.90 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings pitched.
“He’s one of our go-to guys,” Williams said. “He’s the guy we want on the mound in the big spots.”
Rogers, Piedmont’s starting shortstop this season, said at Seminole he will shift to a role as a full-time pitcher and does not expect to hit.
“Whatever they want I’ll do for them,” he said.
Rogers will follow in the footsteps of former Piedmont star Jacob Boggess, who also signed with Seminole out of high school. Boggess signed a letter of intent with Division I University of Arkansas Little Rock earlier this spring.
He played a role in Rogers’ decision to attend Seminole State and the two have talked about making the transition from high school to college.
“The skill level will be so much higher,” Rogers said of the challenges that await him. “I’m not going to be shutting kids out like I’m used to in high school.”
Williams said Rogers has the potential to take the same path from junior college baseball to D-I. Rogers’ current velocity is at 85-87, but could easily spike into the low 90s as he develops in college.
“He has a live enough arm where that could happen,” Williams said. “He’ll be in baseball all year round and in a good program with great coaches. If he’s 91-92 he’s definitely a Division I type guy. “