Behind the glove, the Rogers’ journey on Rocky Top
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - As Lady Vols’ ace pitcher Ashley Rogers rounds out her final year on Rocky Top, she is doing so with her brother Andrew by her side.
Andrew is in his fourth season on Rocky Top, this season he’s a manager on staff and arguably has one of the best seats in the house to watch Ashley add to her legacy at Tennessee.
Wearing the Orange and White has been a dream for Ashley and Andrew. For Andrew, getting to work with his sister is something he calls a blessing. Though maybe in those high school days being behind the glove felt more like a choice assigned by their dad.
“To say that I turned into softball would be untrue, probably because I was forced into it by Ashley,” said Andrew. “Because me and Ashley both, I pitched in baseball, and we each broke our dad’s pinky toe. Once separately, occurs her with a drop ball, maybe with a curveball. And then after she did it to him, he was like ‘I am not doing that anymore. So, Andrew, you’re on the bucket.’”
Now on the Lady Vols’ staff as one of the managers, his primary role keeps him in the bullpen where he has the unique advantage of being able to coach up his sister.
“If you keep her from getting frustrated at herself in the bullpen, she typically goes out there and does better and so I had, regardless of instruction or anything, I just tried to keep it not light-hearted but to make sure she’s not getting too much in her head,” said Andrew.
This season has been historic for the Lady Vols, sweeping the conference titles in the regular season and tournament championship. As the ace pitcher continues to add to her storied career. One that also saw her get drafted in the Women’s Professional Fastpitch.
“I know some siblings might be held a little bit of jealousy I mean, it’s natural to like, Man, I wish I was that good. But honestly, I know. I’m retired and so I could not be more proud of what she’s been able to accomplish,” said Andrew.
For Andrew, catching these moments is incredibly important for him.
“She impressed the most this season I wouldn’t even say on the field because she I got a little glimpse into her mental after the Arkansas series,” said Andrew. “She spoke up in the circle and said we just need to have like don’t forget to have fun with the game. It’s easy to forget that you’re playing getting paid to play a sport that you love. At arguably the biggest stage there is currently and just to hear that she actually acknowledges that that’s she what a privilege it is to be able to play and actually enjoy it that was honestly one of the proudest moments I’ve had.”
Andrew hasn’t missed many of the big games in Ashley’s career. But the ones he has, like one of her state championships, still stings today.
He said it’s something he won’t let happen again, which is why he’s determined to witness her final game as a Lady Vol.
“Being able to bring it back into where we’re all at the important stuff is there you can’t put a price on that and so like I hated that I had to miss it for Miss hurts that last championship for work but so making sure that I’m able to be there for the SEC championship hopefully erode Oklahoma City maybe even who knows some wins in Oklahoma City, but just being able to be there is very is very high priority,” said Andrew.
Ashley was tabbed the starter for the Lady Vols game against Indiana in game three of the Knoxville Regional.
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