Every person has a story.

Rocha to continue baseball journey at PHCC

December 20, 2018

From his days of Little League, senior Jose Rocha knew he was talented, playing with kids above his age group every season. While some kids also move up a bit early, Rocha was the only nine-year-old to play majors, an age group that mostly consists of 11 and 12-year-olds. This trend didn’t stop when Rocha entered high school as he joined the varsity team as a freshman. In his junior season, Rocha lead the team in batting average hitting .396 with four home runs. This success has lead Rocha to receive interest from various colleges, but on Nov. 14, Rocha committed to Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC).

Rocha makes a full swing. Graphic by Owen Marshall

“They called me one day after school… They said ‘Hi Jose, this is the coach from Patrick Henry. How are you doing?’ They asked me to go on a visit. I finally had the time. Although my parents had to work, my coach Blake Sipe took me. They offered me. I liked the program, I liked the coach, and I liked the field,” Rocha said.

What initially drew Rocha in was the opportunity to start as a true freshman. He also enjoys the winning culture that the team has had, as they finished 39-16 in the 2018 season.

“They said that if I commited I would be the only shortstop there. I am the only shortstop they are talking to, which is big because starting as a freshman makes it easier for you to develop,” Rocha said.

Many of Rocha’s coaches have helped him throughout the recruitment process. HHS coach Kevin Tysinger and travel coach Blake Sipe both agreed that Rocha needed to make sure that he enjoyed the atmosphere at the school he chose to go to.

“[They told me] to go wherever felt good and was a good fit for me. They thought JUCO would be good for me because of my academics,” Rocha said.

While PHCC is not a four year institution, many athletes transfer to a larger program after their eligibility is up. Rocha feels the junior college (JUCO) route is the best for him because his grades were not where he would have liked his first two years of school.

“I thought it was a good fit for me because I started my freshman and sophomore year badly. I had bad grades because I didn’t like school. I thought it would be good fit for me academically,” Rocha said. “Hopefully, I can transfer to a Division I school or maybe even get drafted because I heard there are going to be MLB scouts there. Playing at a D-II or D-III school is a blessing, but my dream is to get drafted and hopefully play professional ball.”

Graphic by Owen Marshall.

After his sophomore year, Rocha realized the importance of his grades in the college recruitment process. Rocha hopes that JUCO will give him more academic experience, so if he transfers he will be prepared for college.

“I heard that if my grades were good from the beginning I would probably already be committed somewhere. It is a good thing I have brought my grades and GPA up. I feel like the JUCO route will be good. Academically I just want the experience of how college is,” Rocha said.

While Rocha has met his goal of having the opportunity to play at the college level, he has yet to meet his end goal. Rocha’s childhood dream is to play Major League Baseball. He wants to develop both physically and as a player.

“Baseball wise I want to develop and get bigger and stronger because right now I’m skinny. I want to get a bigger body, throw harder, hit harder, and run faster,” Rocha said

Rocha feels that playing college ball is a dream come true.

“I was excited and I felt blessed. Playing at the next level is a blessing,” Rocha said.

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