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Plant City Observer Friday, Mar. 17, 2017 5 months ago

Athlete of the Week: Tanner Rollyson

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Tanner Rollyson is Plant City Little League’s home runs leader.
by: Justin Kline Sports/Associate Editor

After hitting two home runs in one game on Friday, March 10, Tanner Rollyson now leads Plant City Little League in homers hit this season. Rollyson, a two-time state champion with Plant City Little League, plays for the Sandlot team. He also won first place in the 11-year-old boys bracket at the Saturday, Jan. 21, Tri-Star Youth Basketball Skills Competition with 151 points.

Know someone who deserves an Athlete of the Week feature? Email Justin Kline at [email protected] by the Friday before the next issue.

You hit two homers in one game the other night. How did you do it?

I guess it was a fastball, so I just tried to elevate it up.

How’s the season going?

We are 3-3, so we have a .500 season.

How long have you been playing baseball?

I was 4 when I started. I am 11, so that would have been seven years ago.

How did you first get into it?

I wanted to play tee ball.

What’s your favorite thing about the game?

I like pitching.

How many different pitches can you throw?

I can pitch a four-seam, two-seam, changeup and curveball.

What first made you fall in love with the sport?

When I was in tee ball, I couldn’t pitch, so I liked hitting the ball off the tee and running the bases.

And when you finally got to pitch, what did you like about it?

I like how it’s just like, you can control the game. You’re in charge of the whole defense.

Do you play any other sports?

I play basketball, and I played football for one year. And I play tennis.

Which is your favorite?

I would have to say baseball.

Is there any sport you’ve never tried, but always wanted to?

Soccer.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done on a baseball field?

Hit a home run.

What baseball players do you try to play like?

Clayton Kershaw, because he’s a good left-handed pitcher.

If you could go to the bigs, which team would you want to play for?

The (Tampa Bay) Rays.

Let’s say you make the team one day. Tanner Rollyson, star pitcher, gets a $1 billion contract. What’s the first thing you buy?

A car. A Bugatti.

What advice would you give to a younger player who asks you how to get better at baseball?

Practice makes perfect.

What’s the best advice a coach has ever given you?

When I hit, how to stay in, keep my shoulder in, so I can keep my eye on the ball.

Not everyone’s great at keeping their shoulder in, so what do you do to make sure that your
shoulder’s in the right place?

The key is to always look at the ball. Even if it’s a bad pitch, just look at it all the way through so you know where to hit it.

What superpower would you want?

To be immortal.

What’s the most fun thing that’s happened with one of your teams?

Winning the (9-10) state championship game (last season) — that was pretty cool.

I understand you’re going to play on the Raiders team that’s going to Cooperstown this year. How excited are you for that?

I’m excited because, the better pitching you see, the better you can learn and the better you can get.

Justin Kline is the Sports/Associate Editor at the Plant City Times & Observer. He has been covering all things sports-related in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World since 2013, and hosts the weekly Gridiron Report podcast during high school football season.

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