While it might not be exactly in the role he envisioned, former Greenbrier standout Blake Ross is on the doorstep of making it to the pinnacle of college baseball–the Division I College World Series.
“We’re two wins away from Omaha,” said Ross, whose College of Charleston Cougars are in Lubbock, Texas, facing Texas Tech University in a Super Regional for the right to move on. “We get these two wins we make history at the college and make it to the promised land.”
The Cougars and Red Raiders opened their three-game series on Saturday will play at 3 p.m. on ESPNU today with a 1 p.m. start on Monday on ESPN2 if needed.
A pitcher/oufielder, Ross joined the Cougars in the 2011 season showing promise as a pitcher, but broke his ankle his sophomore year after making just two appearances. As a junior he took the hill 22 times but was shelved once more this year with an arm injury after pitching just six innings.
“I’m a firm believer that God put you in a situation for a reason,” said Ross. “He doesn’t put you in a situation you can’t handle. It’s been different having to deal with an injury, but at the same time I believe there are other ways I can lead the team. Staying on top of guys, making sure they’re always doing the right thing, motivating them to push themselves everyday because the more they push the better we’ll be in the long run.”
One of the people he has inspired along the way is Cougars’ pitching coach Matt Heath, who called Ross one of the toughest baseball players he’s ever coached.
“He was a two-way, walk-on player for us but then after his ankle injury, he was on the verge of getting cut,” said Heath. “But he has such high character and incredible work ethic, I worked with him to be a full-time pitcher and he really became a huge contributor for us in his junior season. He hasn’t seen a lot of time this season because of another injury, but his leadership has been fantastic. He has had a toughness about him that translates to this pitching staff and has been a big part of their success this year.”
While playing baseball, Ross also worked hard in the classroom and recently graduated with a business degree. He hopes to delay the next stage of his life a bit longer.
“Hopefully we keep playing baseball and I get a little more time and I don’t have to think about the next step in my career,” said Ross. “Right now I’d like to come home, probably take classes at Georgia Regents and hopefully take my sciences and do well enough and I plan on doing something in the dental field.”
He has taken the way things have turned out in stride.
“I don’t think you can live in life with regrets, I’m actually satisified with how the senior season has turned out,” Ross said. “The better the team does the easier it is for me to watch games from the bench.”
And that the team has posted a 152-87 record in his time at the college is one of the reasons he went there.
“Looking into my college career I knew I wanted to go to a place where I could step in and win right away,” said Ross.
“Charleston was one of those places I kept up with throughout high school and I knew that’s exactly where I wanted to go. It was nice to step in and continue to win.”