by Brent Miles
The Eagle baseball team has always been one of the school’s most successful and respected sports programs. Every year, rising seniors work tirelessly to keep up the reputation of the illustrious program.
Senior pitcher Michael Rodgers has taken this task to heart and works morning and night to constantly improve his game and it certainly has not gone unnoticed. Rodgers committed to Rice in late July and is excited about the amazing opportunity.
“It means everything to me,” Rodgers said. “Getting to play at the next level is every athlete’s dream. I’m just thankful for the people in my life that made it happen for me.”
Despite his great success, Rodgers has remained humble and credits those around him for his achievements, especially Athletic Director Mike Netzel.
“I credit my success to everyone who has ever pushed me to be a better player,” Rodgers said. “Coaches, trainers, role models, the list goes on. But in particular, Coach Netzel has helped me develop and made me into the player I am today.”
Rodgers and Netzel are a dynamic duo that can be seen working out early in the morning and late after school. He works with Netzel every day, rain or shine.
Rodgers also credits the coaching staff as a whole on his athletic success.
“My coaches have built my character and have taught me that your teammates come first,” Rodgers said. “So sacrificing something for the better of the group is essential to being successful in life and on the field.”
The St. Thomas baseball program has really caught the eye of Rice University, as two players have committed there in the past three years.
“Obviously it states that the coaching staff has done a great job turning their players into division one athletes and sending them to elite college baseball universities,” Rodgers said.
“But you also have to look at all of the St. Thomas college commits in the past couple of years. Last year five seniors signed to play; only a handful of high school teams can say that.”
Rodgers will join alumnus Hunter Kopycinski (‘12), a standout player for the St. Thomas program, who now is a catcher for Rice. Rodgers already has a good amount of familiarity with Kopycinski and is looking forward to being caught by a familiar face
“I’m looking forward to getting a chance to play with Hunter again,” Rodgers said. “He was my catcher for two years and knows a lot about the game.”
Rodgers is a prime example of how hard work and dedication will get you to the next level.