Lakewood’s former baseball star, Ross Strickland is finding his niche at Roanoke College in Virginia. Strickland’s freshman season at Roanoke went better than he even thought it could have.
“Well, the first year of college was great,” he said. “I was most nervous about entering college because I wasn’t going to know anyone, but I quickly was able to make some great friends. The entire baseball team is a brotherhood,” he continued.
As far as baseball itself goes, Strickland once again found himself in new territory. “College baseball is really different from any high school sport. Every day we were out on the field either having practice or doing drills. Even in the winter we had lifts and different speed and agility drills. The experience was unbelievable, though,” said Strickland.
He was a part of Roanoke’s best season in school history. They finished fourth in their conference, which gave them a berth in their conference tournament.
Strickland, as he did in high school, spent most of his freshman season patrolling the grounds in center field, shagging anything hit within striking distance. His range in the outfield and a solid arm helped him start over ten games in his first year, and helped to solidify a place in the lineup on a regular basis.
According to Strickland, the highlight of the season was sweeping Randolph Macon, who was ranked tenth in the state at the time.
As much as Strickland loved his time in Roanoke the past year, he admitted that it was nice to be back home this summer. “It’s always good to be back home with family and friends,” he said. “As much as I love it up there, it is always great to be able to come back here.”
With most of the players from the 2015 season returning this coming season, Strickland noted that the goal has now shifted to winning the conference championship. “We were able to make history this past season by finishing fourth in the conference, and we would like to make it again this coming season by winning our first conference championship,” he said.
Strickland is expected to see more playing time in 2016 with a year of college experience under his belt. He is hoping to improve in every aspect of his game entering next season.
“I just want to be better at everything next year, and to be able to help my team in any possible way,” said Strickland. “Overall, Roanoke is definitely a good fit for me, and I had a great freshman year. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”