Kobe Rogerson finds himself in a familiar position this week — playing for a championship.
A year ago that challenge came at the high school level, where the senior shortstop and relief pitcher led Brewer High School to its first baseball state title.
Now he’s playing a pivotal role as a freshman second baseman at Husson University in Bangor, where the Eagles host Baruch College of New York City in a best-of-three series this weekend for an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Rogerson batted .397 while earning all-state honors at Brewer last year. He’s batting .364 this spring and was named the North Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Year after earning NAC all-tournament honors.
“I’ve been playing it my whole life. It’s just the next level,” Rogerson said before a midweek practice in advance of the Baruch series, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with a nine-inning game and concludes with one or two seven-inning contests beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday.
“A lot of the older guys on the team help the freshmen get into it so it’s not a hard transition at all,” he said.
Rogerson is riding a 12-game hitting streak for coach Jason Harvey’s club, which is 26-14 overall with 10 straight victories en route to its first NAC tournament title since 2013.
Rogerson batted .636 in the tourney and last week overall hit .500 with seven RBIs, five runs scored and two walks in 18 at-bats while handling 21 defensive chances without an error.
The performance earned him a spot on the D3Baseball.com national team of the week.
“I think the best thing Kobe did was just be himself,” said Harvey, who is Rogerson’s older brother. “He knows what kind of hitter he is. He doesn’t try to do too much.”
Rogerson also has made just eight errors in 177 total chances for a .955 fielding percentage while helping the Eagles turn 25 double plays, largely in tandem with shortstop Nick Guerrette of Hermon, third baseman Ethan Stoddard of Old Town and first baseman Alex Chapman.
“His range at second his phenomenal, he can go get balls that a lot of guys can’t get to whether they’re on the ground or in the air,” said Harvey, himself a former standout shortstop at Husson. “He’s got a great knack for reading the ball off the bat.”
Rogerson began the season hitting at the bottom of the order, where there was less pressure learning some of the differences between high school and college pitching during the Eagles’ season-opening trip to Florida.
“The thing I noticed is how the changeup is more of a pitch in college compared to high school,” Rogerson said. “Usually in high school you see just the fastball and curveball, but here you have to get used to battling off pitches because pitchers hit spots more and throw more changeups.”
Soon after Husson returned north, he was moved up to the No. 2 spot behind senior right fielder Conor Maguire of Ellsworth, the NAC Player of the Year. He batted .365, one point better than Rogerson.
“He’s really just provided a huge spark, him and Conor both at the top of the lineup for us,” Harvey said. “He’s really worked to get on base and in a position to score for those 3-4-5 guys to be able to drive him in.”
Rogerson also leads the team with nine sacrifice bunts, usually advancing Maguire into scoring position.
“I love bunting. I think that’s a great part of baseball,” Rogerson said.
Rogerson helped Husson improve its team batting average from .219 last year, when the Eagles failed to qualify for postseason play, to .285 this year. He credits his work in the batting cage.
“We take our hacks during practice and really focus on getting things right during that time so in the game it just progresses from there,” he said.
Rogerson and the Eagles hope to build on their offensive momentum from the NAC tournament — when they outscored their opponents by a combined 19-2 — against an unfamiliar opponent in Baruch (15-17), overall champion of the City of New York Athletic Conference.
An NCAA berth is at stake.