April 13, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – However difficult the transition was from prep to collegiate softball, Kelsey Rogers has made the adjustment rather smoothly at John A. Logan College.

The sophomore from Carmi is a thumper in the middle of the batting order for a Vols team that had put together a 24-10 record going into Wednesday’s games. Rogers has a team-leading seven home runs and has driven in 31 to date while sporting a solid .370 batting average (37-100).

“Without a doubt, Kelsey is one of our most productive offensive players,” said first-year JALC head coach Angie Jilek. “She has hit for both power and average. Defensively, she  has recorded eight outfield assists, so you can see that Kelsey is a good defensive player, too.”

Jilek said Rogers played third base last year, but made the move to right field this spring for the good of the team.

“There is a lot to like about Kelsey,” Jilek said. “She always comes ready to play. She’s hard-nosed. And she is a good student. We are glad to have had her in our program these last two seasons.”

Rogers said it didn’t take long for her to find out that the level of play in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference where Logan is a member is a few notches above the Black Diamond Conference in high school.

“The pitching is so much better,” she said. “Everyone has two, three, or even four good pitchers. I saw more riseballs, curves, and screwballs the first few weeks of college than I ever saw with Carmi. I had to adjust.”

Rogers said she tries not to think much when she steps into the batter’s box.

“That can just mess you up,” she said. “I mean, I may know what a certain pitcher’s tendencies are in a given situation, but I just try to see the ball well and hit it.”

Rogers said she has thought much about playing ball at a four-year school, but has not yet received any formal scholarship offers.

“If I get an offer, I will definitely think about continuing with softball, but if not, I am ready to begin a new chapter in my life as hard as that is to say. I have been playing ball since I was barely old enough to walk. My mother, Kristen, played. My older sister, Morgan, played. It would be a big change not to be playing softball after this year.”

As things stand today, Rogers intends to enroll at the University of Southern Indiana at Evansville, a short trek from her family home. Her plans are to major in early childhood education and become a teacher.

“If I were to go there, I might consider walking onto the team, but it’s too early to say right now. We’ll see what develops.”

Rogers said she made the right decision when she chose Logan out of high school.

“It’s a good atmosphere here. I have really enjoyed my two years,” she said. “I have grown both as a player and student. I have much more confidence in myself now. And I have made some great friends in my time here, too. We will all go our separate ways, but I really hope we can stay in touch.”

Rogers added that she has set some personal goals for herself, but the most important goal is a team goal – to win the Region 24 tournament and advance to Nationals.

“Even though we have lost some players due to injuries, I still think we are a threat to win it,” she said. “We have good pitching. We have good hitting. We just have to be on top of our game at the right time. Winning the tournament would be a great way to go out.”