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High school baseball

Former Windjammer Rollins steps to plate for alma mater

Moody, Pierce, Pennington also assist Rollins with Camden Hills program
By Mark Haskell | Apr 05, 2021
Courtesy of: Ben Rollins Ben Rollins.

Rockport — The Camden Hills Hills Regional High School varsity baseball team will have a new coach in the dugout this spring and Ben Rollins, a former Windjammer, will navigate the ship.

The 24-year-old Rollins graduated from CHRHS in 2015 and was a four-year baseball player for the Windjammers.

The Lincolnville resident went on to graduate from Northern Vermont University-Lyndon with a bachelor’s degree in sports leadership, while he also played baseball for the Hornets.

Rollins could not pinpoint when he first decided to delve into coaching, but said he always has strove to be a “lead-by-example”-type of player.

In the past Rollins has been a coach with Five Town Little League, but more recently completed a baseball operations internship with the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

He was in charge of scorekeeping, social media and game-day preparation, but was also able to network with coaches and players from such highly-touted collegiate programs as Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., among others.

“My experience on the Vineyard was fantastic and I was invited back the following summer for a more serious role, but the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID,” said Rollins.

Previously, he had traveled to Nashville, Tenn. to the American Baseball Coaches Convention (ABCA), which he said “was an inspiring experience to say the least.”

“I was able to attend presentations from Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin, former MLB manager Buck Showalter, University of Michigan infield coach Nick Schnabel, and many other great baseball minds," Rollins said. "I came back to Lincolnville and was fired up to share what I had learned in Nashville.”

And now, the Windjammers will reap the benefits of Rollins' new-found experience in his first year as varsity coach.

“It feels great to be back especially after such an uncertain year,” he said. “Hunkering down with no baseball during last spring was a challenge I never thought I would have to face. I can’t thank my family and friends enough for the support. I’m feeling very fortunate to be in this position and to be working with such an excellent group of young men.”

And, the former Windjammer will not be alone as Tim Moody, along with former teammates Ryan Pierce and Aubrey Pennington, will assist Rollins this season.

Pierce graduated from the University of Maine at Orono and was a student-assistant for their baseball program under coaches Steve Trimper and Nick Derba. Rollins said Pennington is “the definition of a natural ballplayer and will offer great assistance in every aspect of the game.”

Moody also “played college baseball and is very familiar with the state of baseball in this area so he is someone that I will lean on heavily," Rollins said.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without the dedication of my coaching staff and I can’t stress how important they will be to this program,” said Rollins.

The first-year coach says he equates baseball as 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical, which lends itself to his positive approach on the diamond.

“I am very open with the fact that I don’t know everything but I do expect a two-way street of open communication,” he said. “As a player, If you saw me overstriding while pitching out of the stretch or maybe I missed a loop on my pants with my belt, I want to hear that constructive criticism if it’s going to make me, or the team as a whole, better.”

He added he hopes to “focus on quality reps [early] so when it comes to game time, we can focus on our mentally approach.”

“As a baseball player, you need to concentrate on setting yourself up for success in your preparation and then taking care of business in-between the lines,” he said. “It’s like properly studying for a test at school, if you prepared well during the days leading up to the exam you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”

Rollins said practices out of the gate have been great and “the energy and competitive spirit is high and that’s exactly what I wanted to see.”

“The swings are looking better than I expected after such a hiatus so that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “Defense will come with more reps but I’m happy with our starting point.”

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