All-Metro Baseball: Vidalia catcher rounds out career in favorite spot on field
Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2018
Vidalia High School’s Cam Rodgers admits he’d most likely have a hard time playing any other position besides catcher.
Then again, he’s never known anything else.
Rodgers finds his home on the diamond in the most practical place — right behind home plate. Since his freshman year, the recent graduate has caught most every varsity game for Vidalia.
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“The last time I remember not catching, I was about 9 or 10 years old,” Rodgers said. “After that, I fell in love with it. I knew I wasn’t meant to do anything besides catch; I knew it was where I was meant to be on a baseball field.
“I think I could play a different position, but with the caliber of play I think it’s kind of too late. Maybe if I had starting learning a different position about five years ago, but not now.”
Over the years, Rodgers has only gotten stronger, sticking to his position through good times and bad.
For his efforts during his senior year, Rodgers has been named the The Natchez Democrat’s 2018 All-Metro Baseball Player of the Year.
Not only has Rodgers’ individual traits been on the upswing since his freshman year, but so have those of the entire team. Since head coach Mike Norris began his stint at Vidalia two years ago, Rodgers said he’s seen a world of difference.
“I don’t care what anyone else says, Coach Norris and Coach Greg (Naquin) turned this team around big time,” he said. “It’s one of those things where we had enough talent, we just didn’t know how to use it.”
In their best year during his career, Rodgers led the Vikings to a record of 23-13 this past season. With a strong run through the second half of the year, the Vikings advanced to the quarterfinals of the LHSAA Class 2A Playoffs, eventually falling to No. 1 seed Kinder in a best-of-three series. They also won their district title for the first time in 10 years.
Rodgers finished the year with a .381 batting average, which he attributes greatly to his position on the field.
Rodgers was also named the LHSAA District 2-2A All-District MVP, as well as to the LSWA Class 2A All-State Team.
“(Being a catcher) has always helped me with hitting, too, because I get to see way more pitches than anyone else,” he said. “I also get to realize where the umpire’s strike zone is. It makes it 10 times easier to hit.”
Rodgers follows in the footsteps of his older sister, Taylor Rodgers, who was named The Natchez Democrat’s 2015 All-Metro Softball Player of the Year. Likewise, Rodgers is taking more of an academic route into college.
“I most definitely want to play baseball in college, but school is what I’m going for,” he said. “Baseball might be the next five years of my life, but whatever I go to school for will be the rest of my life.
“I’m going to Louisiana Tech to study mechanical engineering, and I’m willing to try and walk on to the team. If I can, great, but if I can’t that’s OK, too.”
No matter what happens next, Rodgers said he’ll always cherish his time as a catcher.
“If I don’t catch the ball, the game doesn’t go on,” he said. “I only trust myself. When I’m catching, I feel like I’m in control. If something goes wrong, yeah it’s my fault, but I can also change situations for the better. I’m always in the play.”
Additionally, Rodgers said the all-metro honor to end his career is unforgettable, too.
“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “It’s great to be able to say that people thought so highly of me, especially because I’ve always been the type of person who isn’t going to let how people think of me determine what I do. Knowing it all paid off means a lot because there could have been 100 other people who got it.”