BEAUFORT — If you want evidence that Mason Rose doesn’t chase stats, here’s exhibit A: The News-Times informed him he threw a one-hitter versus Southwest Onslow.
The East Carteret senior finished with six strikeouts and three walks last week in a 4-0 shutout. Southwest had won the previous matchup 11-6.
“I didn’t even know it was a one-hitter,” he said. “Nobody said anything. I did not know. I didn’t see it until the newspaper article. That is when I noticed it.”
The senior righty didn’t surrender the lone hit until the fifth inning.
“Now that I know about it, I’m kind of mad,” Rose said with a laugh. “Because one hit, man, I might have worked harder to make sure that didn’t happen.”
Rose called the outing the best of his career, which has been limited on the mound.
Last year was wiped out by the pandemic, and he pitched just 14 2/3 innings in 23 games as a sophomore while operating mostly as the team’s closer.
“If they needed somebody to pitch, I could get out there, but I didn’t really know where it was going until these last two years,” Rose said. “I was just like, ‘I’ll throw it as hard as I can and maybe it’ll be in the strike zone.’”
A “throw it hard and hope” mentality paid off pretty well in 2019 as he struck out 12 and walked one and sported a 3.82 ERA. His numbers as a senior have dwarfed those.
He posts a 2.42 ERA while limiting opposing batters to a .202 average in 26 innings, and has struck out 34 and walked six as the squad’s ace. He’s accounted for four wins in the Mariners’ 10-2 season.
“I read an interview where (East coach Daniel) Griffee said I was the No. 1 pitcher, and I was like ‘Oh, is that for real?’” Rose said of learning of his spot in the rotation during the preseason. “I pitched a little bit in previous years but nothing like this year.”
Rose said he pitched in middle school out of necessity but then moved back behind the plate as catcher during his first two varsity campaigns, starting all but one of those 44 games. He pitched 6 1/3 innings as a freshman in relief opportunities.
“I have been surprised it’s gone this well,” Rose said. “I don’t understand why it was so hard before, because now it comes easy. It’s just from growing up, I guess. My control is better. Muscle memory has kicked in, maybe.”
Rose also credited a well-rested arm that comes from not spending much time on the mound throughout his career, and his insights as a catcher for helping with his success on the bump this season.
“I think being a catcher helps you know what to throw and when to throw it,” he said.
Rose has shined with the bat as well, ranking second on the team with 15 RBIs this season and sporting a .394 batting average.
He was fourth on the team with 15 RBIs as a sophomore when East won the 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference with a 10-2 mark. The Mariners went 15-3 down the stretch to finish 16-7 overall and lost 7-6 in the third round to a Rosewood team that ended up as the state runner-up.
The 2020 1A east bracket seemed destined to have Rosewood and the Mariners meet again in last spring’s regional final for the right to advance to the state championship as each team brought back nearly every starter.
The pandemic ended those hopes.
“Everybody was more experienced than our sophomore year,” Rose said. “That was heartbreaking.”
He planned on using his junior season as a test case to see whether he was good enough to pursue a college career.
“And we didn’t have it, so I just decided not to,” Rose said.
His body may thank him later for it.
He’s got bad knees that come from catching since his days in Down East Cal Ripken League when he was 8 years old, and has dealt with a sore left shoulder for a year.
“It’s probably my rotator cuff,” he said. “That’s what it feels like. I don’t go to the doctor because he’ll just tell me to stop. Ain’t nobody got time to stop.”
Rose said his body felt stronger after taking the spring off, and the rest made it difficult to come back and play sports as a senior.
But when he decided to get back out there, he went all in.
Rose played in the Big Rock Fall Baseball League, followed by a usual stint playing basketball. He then suited up for the East football team for the first time in high school and was a revelation as the team’s best defensive player.
“I wanted to play everything,” he said. “I said my senior year there was going to be no regrets.”
Rose graduated Friday night after a standout four-year career in athletics and in the classroom with a 3.8 GPA. He will work as a landscaper this summer and plans on pursuing a career as an insurance adjustor in the fall.
Here are a few of Rose’s favorite things, as well as his ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse, and the five items he would take with him on a deserted island:
Favorite Movie: “Talladega Nights.”
Favorite TV Show: “The Office.”
Favorite Cartoon: “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Favorite Band/Artist: Luke Combs.
Favorite Song: “Your Man” by Josh Turner.
Favorite Book: “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen.
Favorite Team: North Carolina Tar Heels.
Favorite Athlete: Ricky Bobby.
Favorite Vacation: Alaska.
Favorite Hobby: Boating.
Favorite Subject: History.
Favorite Quote: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”– Walt Disney.
Favorite Food: Watermelon.
Favorite Drink: Dr. Pepper.
Favorite Restaurant: Musashi.
Favorite Season: Fall.
Favorite Sports Memory: “Beating West Carteret at home in my junior year.”
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Daniel Griffee.
Favorite Sport: Baseball.
Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Team meals.
Favorite Website/App: Snapchat.
Ideal Dinner Guest List: Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Michael Jordan, Donald Trump and Steve Carrell.
Ideal Group to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: Matt Howell, Tristen Nolon, Jacob Gillikin, Thomas Wallace, Jacob Nelson, Michael Smith and coach Matt Howell.
Items For A Deserted Island: Gun, lighter, radio, duct tape and a boat to escape.