Roberts’ success helps him complete a lifelong dream
By Andy Southard | June 28, 2018 10:59 am
Ethan Roberts is a baseball player that has not only made his name known to the residents of White County but also to the nation.
Roberts, a 2015 graduate of White County High School, earned all-district honors all four years of his high school career, and he was also named to the all-state team his senior year. However, Roberts has put his name into the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles’ record books and has also fulfilled a lifelong dream.
As a TTU freshman, Roberts was named to the Louisville Slugger’s Freshman All-American Team. He was also named to the OVC’s All-Rookie Team. As a sophomore, Roberts moved into the closer’s role for the Golden Eagles and was named to the first team All-Conference team. In Roberts’ final season with the Golden Eagles, he topped his sophomore season. Roberts broke the single-season saves record he had set the previous year and was named first team all-conference for the second season in a row. Roberts also helped the Golden Eagles be the first OVC team ever to make it into regional play and into a Super Regional.
In Roberts’ junior season, he continued a trend that he set the previous year. He was the closer from day one. Roberts finished the season with 15 saves in 28 appearances. Roberts would finish the season ranked eighth in the nation for saves.
Roberts talked about how last season helped prepare him for this season as a closer.
“With this being my second year in the closer role, I settled in and was more comfortable and confident out there,” said Roberts. “I knew what I had to do, and I just had to execute my pitches.”
Roberts also shed some light on what it was like to break his old record of saves in a season and to be the new all-time career saves record holder.
“Breaking those records is a very cool achievement in my career,” he said. “However, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this if it wasn’t for the guys backing me up. If they don’t get leads, and I don’t have them behind me backing me up, then I don’t have an opportunity to break those records. I’m thankful for all of my teammates and for the coaches for putting their trust in me and giving me that chance.”
This season, Roberts was also apart of the best team in not only Golden Eagles history but also OVC history. The Golden Eagles set the mark for the most wins in a season, most wins in a row in a season, and the Golden Eagles also made it further than any OVC team had ever made it before in the National Tournament. The Golden Eagles finished the season with a 53-12 record and were one win away from punching their ticket to Omaha, Nebraska, and the College Baseball World Series.
Roberts was asked about the success of the team and what he thought played a significant role in the team’s success.
“Our success this season was built on our internal leadership and brotherhood,” he said. “I felt like we were closer as a team than anyone else in the nation. We played to win, and we played for each other. We knew if the one guy couldn’t get it done, the next guy would step up and get it done for him.”
This year, the Golden Eagles picked up the first-ever regional win in OVC history, and one big reason behind the regional win was Roberts. Roberts picked up two wins in the regional and helped the Golden Eagles advance to a Super Regional for the first time in Golden Eagles and OVC History.
Roberts talked about what helped them accomplish picking up their first-ever regional win.
“The regional win was one of the best moments in my baseball career,” he said. “We just had guys step up and commit. We had guys who stepped up in big spots and helped us win those games.”
The Golden Eagles would advance a Super Regional and take on Big 12 Powerhouse Texas in a best two out of three series. The first game of the series, the Golden Eagles would knock off the Longhorns 5-4 with no other than Roberts picking up the four-inning save. Roberts would give up one hit, one run. He would walk one and would strike out four in the win. The win would be one of the biggest wins in Golden Eagles history.
Roberts talked about what it felt like picking up the save in the Super Regional.
“Pitching at Texas was an experience in itself,” he said. “Being able to help my team win is what I strive for, and it’s always my ultimate goal. Being out there at the end of the game and helping get the last out was the best feeling I have ever felt. Those are what dreams are made of as a kid.”
Roberts also had another dream come true this season. When a little kid starts playing baseball at a young age, their ultimate goal is to be a major league baseball player and to have their name called in the draft. On June 5, in the first year MLB Draft, the Chicago Cubs called his name in the fourth round with 128th pick overall.
When I asked him what it felt like to receive that call, he said, “The draft was a dream come true. This was a phone call I have been waiting my whole life for, and it happened. After the long nights at the field and the tournaments played in the long hot summers, it happened. After the phone call, the first person I called was my wife, Hopelyn, and the second was my father. It was one of the best days of my life.”
Roberts has now headed to Arizona to play in Instructional League before most likely heading to Eugene, Oregon, where the Cubs’ short-season team plays, the Eugene Emeralds. With the innings Roberts logged during the Golden Eagles season, he will most likely be put on an innings limit this season to finish out the year.
With Roberts’ college baseball career behind him, he talked about what he is going to miss most about college baseball.
“The one thing I am going to miss most about college baseball is the brotherhood of a college team,” he said. “When you get to the pros, its more cutthroat, and everyone is there to make a living, whereas in college you are just trying to win as many games as you can with your brothers. “
Roberts also talked about what he was looking forward to the most in the next journey of his baseball career.
“I’m looking forward to putting on that minor league uniform and working my way up,” he said. “I have been working my whole life for this opportunity, and I can’t quit now. I will keep working every day to get better and to ultimately live my dream of putting on that major league uniform and step foot on a major league mound.”