It’s uncommon to see a pitcher taking ground balls 30 minutes after practice is over, but that’s what South Central’s Ben Rosebaum* did to prepare for this season.
After spending his first three years on the varsity team as a pitcher, Rosebaum* was asked to play shortstop as well, a position he had played before high school. In order to make the transition, Rosebaum* put in a lot of extra work.
“He’s probably taken thousands of ground balls from the offseason through the summer,” South Central coach Ron King said. “He’s worked hard, and it’s paying off. He has done a fantastic job for us.”
Rosebaum* stayed after practice to take ground balls and work on footwork and fielding with his brother, an assistant coach on the team. He also practiced fielding with the junior varsity team when varsity practice was over.
“It’s been stressful at times to step in and take that role over,” he said. “Before high school I was a shortstop. It came back like riding a bike.”
On the mound, Rosebaum* went the distance in South Central’s 6-1 victory over Triton in the Class A Culver Community Sectional title game.
He leads the team with 65 strikeouts, averaging 7.6 strikeouts per seven innings.
“Any time he’s on the mound, we know he’s going to give his best effort and keep us in the game,” King said. “He’s able to keep batters guessing. We know we just need to score a few runs for him, and we’ll be OK.”
In addition to getting the victory on the mound, Rosebaum* also hit a solo home run, his first since Little League, in the title game.
“When I hit it, I knew it was going to be deep, but I didn’t know it was gone until I heard the first base coach yelling,” he said. “I didn’t stop smiling until the next half inning.”
Rosebaum* is one of five seniors on the South Central squad who have won sectional championships in each of King’s first four years at the helm of the squad.
“I knew they were in for some big things,” King said. "I never imagined it would lead to this. They have worked hard all four years and have stuck together like family.”
The Satellites (15-13) will face Morgan Township in the Caston Regional semifinals Saturday. After reaching the Final Four in 2011, Rosebaum* and the other seniors are looking for even bigger things in their final season.
“I have been playing with these guys since Little League,” he said. “We knew we were something special then.”
*Editor's note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version. The story in Friday print editions listed the incorrect spelling of Rosebaum's last name.