CPL: Roberts off to sizzling start this summer
Though the Coastal Plain League All-Star game is nearly a month away, High Point-Thomasville outfielder Des Roberts has already made a strong case for himself to be selected.
A redshirt junior from UNC Charlotte, Roberts has been a reliable source of offense for a HiToms' club that has struggled to plate runs at times and remains one game under .500.
Nestled into the third spot in the order, Roberts has swung a very hot bat in his 13 appearances for the year. He currently leads the CPL in batting average (.444) and on base percentage (.528), while he also ranks second in slugging percentage at .578. Roberts is tied for first on the team with 20 hits and is the only HiToms' hitter that has reached doubles figures in runs batted in with 14. In the outfield he has not committed an error.
“I feel very comfortable at the plate,” said Roberts after going 3-for-4 in Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Asheboro Copperheads. “I’ve been seeing it well and just putting the best swings I can put on it. It is all about consistency and just going on to the next day.”
High Point-Thomasville ranks high in the league in hits with 161, but they have not always translated into runs. The HiToms have scored just 84 runs, good enough for eighth in the 15-team CPL. Roberts has taken advantage of his opportunities with runners in scoring position. Manager Austin Love would like to see him continue to drive in runs and that his sizzling start to the summer will begin to rub off on others.
“He has been our offense at times and every time we have needed a hit he has done something with it,” Love said. “Des has been clutch for us and I told him that we need him to keep doing what he is doing. He wants that pressure and wants that leadership. We are going to keep riding him and if he has a little slump, hopefully somebody else will jump in to help.”
The HiToms have already experienced a three-game losing streak and fought off another potential extended losing streak with the win over Asheboro. Despite the up and down season so far, Roberts sees the team beginning to come together. With a little more confidence at the dish, he believes those runners that have been stranded far too often will begin to make their way to home plate.
“I think things are finally starting to come around,” he said. “Now we are more like a team instead of individual efforts. I think that is going to carry us a long way in the future.
“It is all about timely hitting. There have been things here and there that just have not fallen our way. That is just baseball and it will come around for us.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.