Dusty Rogers plays with the same confidence as the rest of his Navarre teammates. The pressure of the moment means nothing to any of the Raiders. They thrive off it.
So in a scoreless game in the fourth inning of a Region 1-7A quarterfinal against Tallahassee Lincoln Thursday night, Rogers, who is only a sophomore, delivered a clutch hit.
His double sailed to the outfield fence as two runners sprinted across the plate for a 2-0 lead.
The Raiders (20-6) carried that momentum to a 4-1 victory over the Trojans.
“I kind of anticipated a high pitch because I was swinging at all high pitches in my last at-bat,” Rogers said. “I assumed that is where it was going to be. I got lucky and stroked the ball where he put it.”
What Rogers did isn’t a surprise. He isn’t the hero in every game. That role shifts constantly, particularly in the postseason, which continues today for the Raiders in a regional semifinal against Chiles in Tallahassee. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CST.
“We’ve done that all year,” Navarre head coach Scott Murphy said. “Dusty is one of two catchers and it was his turn. He swung the bat well.”
Rogers was one of six players to tally a hit in the Raiders’ 13th consecutive win.
“It felt really good to help my team and get us up for the first time,” Rogers said. “To put runs on the board is a big thing, especially in the fourth inning when it’s 0-0.”
Junior ace Matt Cronin did the rest, striking out 11, including all three batters in the seventh.
“Going up there with the lead gives me a lot of confidence,” Cronin said. I feel like I can throw it right over the heart of the plate, try to get them to make contact and let the defense make a play.”
The Raiders have also thrived off teamwork.
“This is a team sport,” Murphy said. “One play might stand out but these guys couldn’t win without working together. This is a good team.”