In a story about the former Rockland District High School student seven years ago, Adam Ross said his career ambition would be “to be successful in whatever I do and take my career in baseball as far as I possibly can.”

Fast forward to the present, and the RDHS graduate has done just that, landing himself a position with a professional baseball organization.

Ross, who will turn age 25 in February, has been all over the map since he graduated from RDHS in 2003 to different schools and institutions to help him further his baseball career.

While he likely will not be fielding too many ground balls, he will be doing his part to make sure his team is ready, limber and agile once the season starts.

Ross is the new strength and conditioning coach for the Corpus Christi Hooks, the AA affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros. Ross is responsible for implementing the strength and conditioning program set by the organization on a daily basis, including taking players through their daily weight training and conditioning as well as pregame stretches and warmups.

Ross earned his bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from the University of Southern Maine in 2008 and, after completing an internship with well-known strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle, Ross enrolled at Baylor University in Texas and began work on his master’s degree. He has already completed all his coursework for the semester and will officially graduate with his master’s in exercise physiology in May.

However, spring training kicks off March 1, with the first game of the regular season set for April 8 against the Tulsa Drillers.

And Ross could not be more excited.

“It feels great to be a part of an MLB organization, albeit not my lifelong dream of playing professional baseball,” said Ross who was a standout pitcher for USM a few years ago. “It is a great feeling to get to the professional level in my field of study, while still being able to be involved with baseball. The Astros are a great organization with a lot of history, and I have already had the thrill of meeting some of their greats like Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who are now [hitting] instructors in their farm system.”

The Hooks have history to them as well, as Hall-of-Fame baseball player Nolan Ryan is one of the team’s presidents. Roger Clemens also donned the Hooks uniform four years ago as he prepared for his return to the major leagues with the Astros.

The Hooks play their home games at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi.

In his high school playing days, Ross was an integral member of the Rockland baseball team, particularly during his senior season. A first-team newspaper all star in his final year with the Tigers, Ross batted .340, with 18 hits (four doubles, triple), 15 RBIs and 19 walks. He also had an on-base percentage of .444.

He was even more impressive on the mound, going 6-1 with a 1.92 earned run average, walking 19 batters and striking out 70 in 51 innings. That season, he struck out 20 batters over nine innings to help the sixth-seeded Tigers defeat No. 11 Erskine Academy of South China in the Eastern Class B preliminary playoff round.

Ross also played varsity basketball for the Tigers for four years, and varsity soccer for three seasons.

His shift from high school to collegiate athletics was one of the transitions that helped him choose a primary focus of study at USM, as he had been taking classes with an undeclared major until midway through his sophomore year.

“Through my athletic experience in high school, I did not have a great deal of involvement in strength training and conditioning for sport, but as I went to collegiate athletics, the importance of this was magnified,” he said. “In order for me to be successful at that level, I needed to make a decision to put in the time in the weight room and training room. Through these experiences I decided that I wanted to help get athletes to an elite level and keep them performing at optimal levels throughout their careers.”

After graduating from USM, Ross completed a short internship with Boyle, who runs his own performance enhancement facility based in Winchester, Mass. Ross said the internship was about four months long and was a “life-changing experience.”

“[Mike] is so knowledgeable and very willing to share that knowledge in order to help young coaches in the pursuit of their own career,” said Ross. “While at this internship, I actually found, and was offered my graduate assistanceship at Baylor University. Being immersed in performance enhancement all day every day really tests your passion, and I found that there is nothing else I would rather be doing.”

While at Baylor Ross began making contacts within many professional baseball organizations and before long, contacted Houston Astros minor league strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Smith. Ross then had an interview with Smith over the phone, who offered him the position on the spot.

“I was ecstatic when I was offered the position, and the excitement has only grown since that point,” he said.

Ross said he has not made a name for himself just yet, and is looking to continue to do the right things in order to keep moving forward in his career in professional baseball. But currently he lives for the present, and is thrilled that all his hard work to get to where he is today has finally paid off.

“I am so anxious to start,” he said. “Most people need to pay tons of money to go and watch professional athletes showcase their talent. I get to wake up to the smell of fresh cut grass every day, and hopefully help in the development of some great baseball players.”

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.