Seattle selects Kipp Rollings

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By Robert Howey

Former Andrew Jackson High School baseball star Kipp Rollings has been thinking about a possible future in pro baseball for some five years.
Wednesday afternoon, Rollings’ dream took a key turn to reality with a coveted phone call.
Rollings, a standout pitcher at North Greenville University, received the call a serious diamond prospect would want.
The Seattle Mariners called to tell him he had been drafted in the 24th round of the annual Major League Baseball Draft.
“It’s great to get that call and I was feeling pretty positive,” Rollings said. “When I was a junior (at AJ), I had matured some and I felt, with my game, I might could have that chance to get drafted and play pro baseball one day.”
Rollings, with his senior season at North Greenville, was confident.
“I felt I put together a good pitching season that I might get a phone call,” Rollings said.
Rollings, a right-hander, was the Crusaders’ top reliever this season.
In 24 appearances, Rollings worked 35.1 innings yielding 12 earned runs during that time.
He allowed 39 hits and had a .275 batting average. Rollings struck out 35 of the 142 batters he faced during the season.
In his junior season, Rollings, in 23 games, worked 40.1 innings and struck out 42 batters with a 1.34 earned run average. In facing 146 batters, Rollings gave up 30 hits, six earned runs.
“Baseball has been a good experience for me,” Rollings said. “My parents deserve a lot of credit for all the time they’ve put in with me, taking me to the field and staying behind me with their great support over the years.”
Rollings, prior to going to North Greenville, played two seasons at the University of South Carolina Lancaster.
Rollings, in his first year at USCL in 2016, was a member of the team which finished 38-21 and the Region X runner-up. Rollings, in his sophomore season, helped USCL to a school-record 41-17 mark and a runner-up finish in the NJCAA Eastern District tournament in Florence. Rollings was 5-5 that season on the mound.
Prior to USCL, Rollings was a star at Andrew Jackson High School.
He was selected to the annual North-South All-Star game in 2015, winning the Class AA-AAA North MVP in the tournament at Myrtle Beach.
In in two games, Rollings went 4-4 with six RBIs and scored three runs.
He also was the winning pitcher in one game with two scoreless innings and five strikeouts.
In his senior season at AJ, Rollings was the Volunteers’ MVP and garnered all-region and Class AA all-state honors. As a junior, he was selected as AJ’s Best All-Around Award winner and reaped all-region honors.
“I’m really not surprised Kipp got the call,” retired USCL baseball coach Steve Williams said. “Kipp plays the game the right way and has a tremendous work ethic and comes from a supportive family which shares in his big baseball thrill. I’m happy for all involved because they love the game of baseball. Kipp has his shot and that is what he’s worked for in his career.”
Marlins land Edwards
Rollings shared the draft spotlight along with another former Lancers’ player, Evan Edwards, who was selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft with the 11th overall pick by the Miami Marlins.
Edwards, a Greensboro, N.C. native who played two seasons at USCL under Williams, was the Region X Player of the Year in 2017. He batted .342 with 17 home runs, 57 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. He was also selected to the all-region team and the all-region defensive team.
Edwards, as the USCL first baseman, posted a .989 fielding percentage with three errors that season. He was also selected as a third team Junior College All-American.
The 2017 Lancers captured the school’s first-ever regular-season title.
Edwards, in his freshman season at USCL, was a first-team all-region selection, hitting .339, with 12 homers, 69 RBIs, 53 runs scored and three stolen bases.
He posted a stellar senior season with the N.C. State Wolfpack this spring, hitting .330 with a .455 on-base percentage and a .604 slugging average.
He smashed 14 home runs, 17 doubles, with 60 RBIs and 7-8 on stolen bases.
On defense, he didn’t commit an error at first base, considered one of the most demanding positions in baseball.
“Evan is just a really good hitter,” Wolfpack baseball coach Elliott Avent said in a release. “If you look at his swing, it’s very short, it’s very simple and his approach is very, very good.
“He has a good eye, understands the game and nobody really bothers him,” Avent said.
Williams also praised Edwards.
“I’m elated for Evan,” Williams said. “He has all the tools, a solid bat and he’s tough with his glove. The selection of Kipp and Evan says a lot about our Lancers’ baseball program. I’m proud to say I had a hand in their development.”