Former Union County High School baseball players Dylan Rogers, Alex Pridemore, Ricky Rice and Jake Walton boarded a plane in Atlanta on Tuesday, bound for Colorado where they’ll compete in the Junior College World Series.
The local standouts took their talents to Spartanburg Methodist College (Rice and Pridemore in 2011, Walton and Rogers in 2012) and have played pivotal roles in the baseball team’s success.
The Pioneers (45-13) ripped through the NJCAA Eastern District tournament to earn the bid to Grand Junction, Colo. for the second straight season, disposing of Potomac State, 17-2 on Sunday for the championship.
SMC has won 14 straight games, including an undefeated double-elimination Region 10 tournament during which Rice was the only pitcher to take the mound in multiple games.
He has tossed 28 innings this season including 1.2 innings of relief during SMC’s 11-9 win over Potomac State in the first round of the District tournament. The right-handed sophomore boasts a 3-0 record with a 2.25 ERA.
Pridemore, also a veteran right-hander, has pitched 32.1 innings in his second year at SMC. He has a 3.26 ERA with 26 strikeouts and a 4-2 overall record. Pridemore closed out Sunday’s District Championship game, striking out the last two batters he faced.
Jake Walton serves as the Pioneers’ designated hitter. He has a .302 batting average with 27 RBI. He has homered once this season and has touched home plate 21 times.
Rogers made his sixth appearance from the hill on Saturday when SMC defeated ASA College, 7-2, and advanced to the final round.
The freshman right-hander struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings, improving to 6-1 with a 2.57 ERA.
During a six game span, Rogers has worked 23 innings and allowed only two runs on 16 hits. He pitched six shutout innings during the Region 10 tournament win over USC Sumter.
Rogers has been given the nod for Saturday’s opener against Walters State Community College, the East Central winner from Morristown, Tenn. First pitch is slated for 5:30 p.m.
SMC is expected to make some noise in Grand Junction and if it does, Union County talent will have had a hand in it.