Cleveland State's season may have come to an untimely end in the TCCAA Region VII baseball tournament, but for pitcher Jake Rogers and first baseman Sean McDermott, the season was still deemed a success. Both Rogers and McDermott were named First Team All-Conference by the TCCAA, which was just another feather in the caps of their two years with the Cougars.
The Georgia State-bound Rogers has been named the TCCAA pitcher of the week six times in the past two years, and being named First Team All-Conference checked off one of the final goals he had set for himself for his career at Cleveland State.
"It feels great – to be first team all-conference this year was just another goal I had and it was pretty nice to accomplish," Rogers said.
Through two seasons, Rogers produced a record of 15-7, going 6-5 his freshman year. Rogers set lofty goals for his sophomore year, and was able to check all of them off.
"I wanted to win eight or nine games this season and I won nine. I also wanted to get 100 strikeouts this season, which I did," he explained.
While at Cleveland State, Rogers learned some very important lessons.
"You cannot take any days off," he began.
"You have to get up, go to class every day, run every day and do the extra things other guys aren't doing. That's what puts you above everyone else."
Rogers finished the 2016-17 season out with an impressive 9-2 record, with his second loss coming in the TCCAA tournament. He also had 102 strikeouts, for an average of 12.35 per game.
Despite the way the Cougar's season ended, Rogers was still proud of the team.
"I love this team and I'd do anything for them," he declared.
"We were a very good baseball team and had a solid line up, we just fell apart at the end of the year. We weren't making the routine plays that were needed and it cost us."
The Chickamauga, Ga. pitcher believes that coming to play at Cleveland State was an excellent decision.
"It was a good choice for me to go to Cleveland State. I really enjoyed (attending) junior college first and I think I've grown every way possible as a player and a student," Rogers said.
McDermott, a Cartersville, Ga. native, has put together back-to-back impressive seasons as a Cougar.
After finishing out his freshman season with a .357 batting average, McDermott was determined to keep the success coming for his sophomore season.
"I had another decent year," he commented.
"We didn't take on the postseason how we wanted to, but overall it was a successful year."
The 2016-17 season saw a Mercer-bound McDermott up his batting average to .370, for an overall average of .363 with the Cougars. Over two seasons, McDermott had 117 hits total, with 21 home runs and 20 doubles. He also had 75 RBIs and scored 64 runs.
"You have to be consistent – go out and try to get better each day," he explained.
"You have to always look for ways to improve, practice and outwork everyone else."
The two Georgia natives, who proudly declare each other best friends, were thrilled to earn first team honors together.
"It's definitely an honor and was a goal of mine. I'm glad that I got to that level and was glad to do that with Jake," McDermott stated.
Rogers echoed those sentiments, and is looking forward to playing against McDermott at the Division I level.
"That's my best friend – we came in together from the state of Georgia, did what we were supposed to do and signed with DI schools in Georgia. Now we'll be playing against each and I can't wait to strike him out," Rogers declared.
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