To move ahead, Quintin Rohrbaugh took a step back.
"After struggling with power last year, I went back and really focused on the fundamentals - like driving my hips, keeping my hands inside the ball and driving through the pitch," said the Weatherford College Coyotes' sophomore middle infielder. "Putting emphasis on these has allowed me be successful at the plate so far this year."
Indeed it has. As of the writing of this article, Rohrbaugh was 11th in the nation in home runs with 11 (tops in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference). He also has 10 doubles, 34 runs batted in and is hitting .410.
Last season, the Arlington Bowie product battled through a severe ankle injury that he said prevented him from transferring all of his power from his legs to the ball. Also he thought of his role on the team as one to get on base however he could, not to drive in a lot of runs.
"So I was just looking to get a base hit rather than drive balls into the gaps," he said.
Having recovered and made the adjustments, now nearly half of his hits have gone for extra bases, to which he also credits being more patient.
"I believe getting extra base hits is all about being selective at the plate and waiting until you get a pitch in your zone that you’re able to transfer all of your power into," Rohrbaugh said. "This has allowed me to have many more extra base hits this year than last year."
Rohrbaugh's play helped the Coyotes become the first team in Weatherford College history - in any sport - to reach a No. 1 national ranking. There's another top spot he could reach at the pace he is playing, the team home run record of 16, set by Tucker Oakley in 2010.
"The home run record is definitely in reach and I would love to break it, but it’s not the most important goal," he said. "I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to help us win conference and if that means hitting 17-plus home runs, then so be it.
"My job is to get a big hit to energize the team when we are down, to make a big play on defense to save a crucial run, and to keep everyone believing in what we are trying to accomplish and to continue doing things the right way."
The Coyotes are seeking the first NJCAA Division I World Series appearance for the team in its history. That, of course, was the goal of every player when the season began, including Rohrbaugh's, though he didn't put his goals in terms of statistics.
"The goals I set for myself at the beginning of the season were not very numerical, but more I need to be whatever the team needs me to be," he said. "So if that means I need to drive in 40 runs then that’s what I will aim to do. If it means I need to have an on base percentage of over .400 then that’s what I will aim to do. So far, I feel as though I’m doing a decent job of helping the team succeed."
And despite his success, he stresses the word “helping.”
"Everyone is playing for the team," he said. "There is little to no selfishness on this team and this allows a lot of the miniscule parts of the game to get done right, such as laying down a bunt to move a guy into scoring position.
"I do believe this team has the ability to make it to Grand Junction (site of the World Series), we just have to keep things rolling and play 'our' game every time we get on the field."
What makes the accomplishments of Rohrbaugh and the Coyotes even more impressive is that they compete in arguably the toughest JUCO conference in the nation, the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference. Along with Weatherford College, Grayson and Cisco are both nationally ranked, as is Howard, which is in the same Region V.
Rohrbaugh has verbally committed to play for the University of Texas at Arlington next year, but he is also welcoming a possible spot in the annual Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
"I would love to get drafted and work my way up to the professionals as any kid would," he said.
But for now, there's unfinished business with the Coyotes.
"This season has been a blast thus far and hopefully will only get better from here. I enjoy playing ball with these guys every day and will hopefully be able to continue doing so all the way into May," he said. "We just need to keep taking care of business and having fun doing what we do."