Century’s Hunter Rose surely has one proud “pop-pop” looking down on him. The Times 2021 Baseball Player of the Year honored the memory of his grandfather with a stellar senior season for the Knights.
“For me, the first thing I do before every at bat is look at the sky and say in my head, ‘This is for you, Pop-Pop,’” Rose said. “My grandfather, who passed away my freshman year, loved the game of baseball. I know he would be thrilled about me receiving this honor.”
Rose was at the center of the action for a Century offense that was among the best in the state this spring. He led the county in hits with 22 to go with a .550 average and 16 runs batted in. He combined with teammates Conner Breitenbach (3 HR, 14 RBI) and Kyle Grimsley (3 HR) to form a fearsome lineup that helped Century go 7-2 in the county and win a regional title.
“Matt [Guyer], Conner and I have known each other for a very long time,” the third baseman said. “We had an overwhelming amount of success at Century; Matt with his pitching, Conner with his power and myself being able to do things others couldn’t for the team. We fed off of each other for the love and excitement of the game.”
The biggest impact Rose had on the team came in the season’s biggest moments. In the Class 2A West final victory in 14 innings over Glenelg on June 12, Rose had four hits, including a home run, and scored two runs.
In the previous game, Rose delivered a game-tying single in the sixth inning as Century narrowly edged county-rival South Carroll, 6-5, in the regional semifinals.
“When I needed a key hit, I was so happy to see Hunter walk up,” Century head coach Chris Poe said. “He always came up with the key hit. When Hunter hit, we won. He was the biggest leader on this team I have ever had. When he went, we went.”
Against Liberty on May 27, Rose had another signature moment in a season full of big hits. In the second inning, the senior cleared the bases with a grand slam that helped the Knights to a 6-3 win in a pivotal county contest. Rose finished the game with 5 RBI.
“Wow, that was just crazy,” Rose said of his big blast. “My heart was pounding and my team was screaming and on fire. Most definitely [that was] one of the biggest hits of my high school career.”
Playing for Century baseball comes with the expectation of competing for the county crown. This season was no different and Rose credits his coach for keeping the team focused and ready for the challenge.
“Coach Poe always pushed us to do our best in practice,” he said. “Knowing our team has typically always been a top contender, we were prepared for anything that was going to come our way in competition. The best pitchers, the best [fielders], the best hitters, we needed to be ready.”
Poe knows he will have a tough time next season replacing the production, and more importantly the leadership, provided by Rose.
“It was a great team and Hunter was the biggest leader of them all,” he said. “He’s always been a hard worker. He’s a leader. He was a top leader. I had three captains and he was one of the ones I always went to. Whatever I needed, he would do.”
While his time at Century may be at an end, Rose plans to continue playing his favorite sport at The College of Southern Maryland.
“I got into baseball at a young age, around 6,” Rose said. “I think because my grandfather liked baseball so much and played when he was young, that helped mold my love for the game. And it just grew from there. I’ve played a lot of sports — football, basketball, track — but by far, baseball is my favorite sport.”
Rose is hoping to take the valuable knowledge of the game he took from his grandfather and from his time at Century and parlay that into a successful career in college that may one day see him on the field for a four-year university.
“My time at Century was amazing,” the senior said. “I’d like to thank my mom and dad for always pushing me to do my best and being there for me even when I was struggling or not in the right mindset. And I’d like to thank Coach Poe, he’s known me since I was 6 years old and he’s motivated me to be the best baseball player that I could be.”
FIRST TEAM ALL-COUNTY
Austin Arnsmeyer, Westminster, senior
Ethan Durborow, Century, senior
Matt Guyer, Century, senior
Justin Hyde, Liberty, senior
Will Irwin, South Carroll, senior
Cam Hodges, Liberty, sophomore
Aidan Greaney, South Carroll, senior
Kyle Grimsley, Century, junior
Hunter Rose, Century, senior
Griffin Stevenson, Liberty, senior
Travis Williams, Francis Scott Key, senior
Conner Breitenbach, Century, senior
Anthony Marsico, Liberty, senior
Ryder Chalk, South Carroll, senior
Josh Popielski, Winters Mill, senior
SECOND TEAM ALL-COUNTY
Century: R.J. Branch, Austin Diehl, Geore Berbakos. Liberty: Quinn Petroski, Ryan Smith, Anthony Zombro. Man Valley: Gene Magin. South Carroll: Justin Abell, Ethan Brown, Nick Malone, Brayden Stutzman. Westminster: Scotty Vaughan. Winters Mill: Ryan Peacock, Brandon Taylor.
Century (7-2 county, 10-3 overall); Liberty (7-2, 8-3); South Carroll (7-3, 8-4); Westminster (4-5, 4-6); Winters Mill (3-7, 3-8); Francis Scot Key (3-6, 3-7); Manchester Valley (2-8, 2-9).
Batting average: 1. Hunter Rose, C — .550 (22-40); 2. Justin Abell, SC — .421 (8-19); 3. Travis Williams, FSK — .414 (12-29); 4. Anthony Marsico, L — .394 (13-33); 5. Griffin Stevenson, L — .385 (15-39); 6. Logan Miller, SC — .378 (14-37); 7. Josh Popielski, WM — .375 (12-32); 8. Anthony Zombro, L — .370 (10-27); 9. Ryder Chalk, SC — .368 (7-19); 10. Ryan Peacock, WM — .367 (11-30).
RBI: 1. Hunter Rose, C — 16; T2. Justin Hyde, L — 14; T2. Aidan Greaney, SC — 14; 4. Josh Popielski, WM — 12.
Doubles: 1. Hunter Rose, C — 6; T2. Matt Guyer, C — 4; T2. Logan Miller, SC — 4; T2. Travis Williams, FSK — 4;
Triples: T1. Aidan Greaney, SC — 3; T1. Josh Popielski, WM — 3; 3. Ryan Peacock, WM — 2.
Home runs: T1. Connor Breitenbach, C — 3; T1. Kyle Grimsely, C — 3; T1. Hunter Rose, C — 3; 4. Aidan Greaney, SC — 2.
Pitching strikeouts: 1. Justin Hyde, L — 32; 2. Will Irwin, SC — 31; 3. Austin Arnsmeyer, W — 28; 4. Ethan Durborow, C — 25; T5. Matt Guyer, C — 24; T5. Josh Popielski, WM — 24.
Latest Carroll County High School Sports
Pitching ERA: 1. Ryan Perry, C — 0.47 (1 earned run in 15 innings); 2. Brayden Stutzman, SC — 0.60 (1 earned run 11.2 innings); 3. Will Irwin, SC — 0.91 (3 earned runs in 23 innings); 4. Brody Comer, C — 1.10 (2 earned runs in 12.1 innings); 4. Ethan Durborow, C — 1.58 (4 earned runs in 17.2 innings).