Summer League Spotlight: Rother rakes in Alaskan Baseball League
By Josh Liddick, Lehigh Sports Communications
There’s no question that aspiring senior Casey Rother is a star, which can be seen in the 2021 season with Lehigh Baseball. Whether he played first base or was in left field, Rother raked off the record and was named Patriot League Player of the Year for his successful season.
This summer, Rother moved his talent to a brand new location as he had quite a bit of time to play for the Matsu Miners of the Alaskan Baseball League.
For the past three summers, Rother has grown to be an accomplished traveler among his Mountain Hawk teammates when it comes to summer baseball leagues, staying in the Blue Mountain League in 2019, followed by the Texas Collegiate League in 2020 and now in Alaska. Rother isn’t the only notable Lehigh ball player to play for Matsu this summer, as aspiring senior Gerard Sweeney is also a key member of the team.
“It was after our first summer in our second year, [head coach] Leary has connections out here and was able to get us both places on the team, ”said Rother. “And now I was here after my junior year because of COVID. It was delayed a bit, but it was great and I’m glad it could happen.
“I don’t know how I could do this without [Gerard], really, “Rother said.” It’s super fun that we could travel to Alaska together, get on a plane, and literally do everything together. It’s so great to do things like that with someone you know at home, someone who is a good friend. “
After beating .329 / .420 / .503 in 39 games in which he scored six home runs with 32 RBIs in his junior campaign, Rother has continued his breakneck pace by hitting the ABL with a team-best average of .358 ( 19-for-53), a slashline of .358 / .433 / .566 and scored 10 runs, eight doubles and homers, and four RBIs with six walks. He has only deleted five times in the team’s first 16 games in the summer program in 53 at-bats. His batting average and total hits are both good enough for the second of all qualified ABL hitters.
“I just tried to be consistent everywhere, so the same ball is thrown from the same racket and I just have to swing and hit it,” said Rother. “But I try to keep it as simple as possible. It’s a difficult thing, but having a good, simple, calm mindset and being an athlete on the record is probably the main thing.”
In his freshman year, Rother played a mix of catcher and designated hitter, but in his sophomore season he also spent time on the mound in certain situations. In 2021, Rother played first base and left field, but this summer he had the opportunity to try right field and third base.
“I also try to be that athlete all over the field. Playing in the right field is a lot of fun, I really feel good there,” said Rother. “And of course I’m happy wherever the team needs me, so the third base was fun too.”
Rother led a Mountain Hawks offensive back into the Patriot League Championship Series for the first time since 2015, but missed the league title and the NCAA regional place. He hopes some of the things he learned at the end of last season and this summer will affect how Lehigh fares in 2022.
“After the end of the last game I learned that it was very difficult to get into this position and we did everything 110 percent, so it has to be 120 percent next year,” said Rother. “We have to work extra hard and as seniors we have to lead the team in every way. It just depends on hard work, every day from autumn onwards. We know we have the talent to return there, but our work ethic has to be right too . “
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