Having undergone Tommy John surgery just 14 months ago, Ethan Rosebeck didn’t know what to expect this season.

The sophomore right-hander figured he’d have a steady role as a relief pitcher for the Pima College baseball team. He simply wanted to go out and throw strikes, but ended up with much more.

Rosebeck has emerged as the Aztecs’ go-to starter, having been named the ACCAC Division I Pitcher of the Week for three straight weeks. He’s gone at least seven innings in all three starts this season, and struck out 12 batters in each of his last two outings, helping him improve to 5-0.

“I just wanted to get some innings,” said Rosebeck, who has a 0.95 ERA through 38 innings. “I didn’t even know I’d be in a starter’s role. I thought I’d be closing or doing middle relief.

“I definitely didn’t expect to have this kind of year. It’s been nice, though.”

Rosebeck, a Cienega High School grad, started the season in the bullpen, and earned his first two wins in relief appearances. But after sophomore right-hander Scotty Watson went down with an oblique injury, Rosebeck was asked to step into a starting role. He’s done anything but disappoint.

“It’s unreal what he’s been able to do,” pitching coach Britt Echols said. “Just getting ahead, throwing strikes. His velocity and his breaking ball have gotten much better, so we’re certainly glad we have him.

“This is kind of what we expected when we recruited him. When we brought him on, you could tell there was something not right with his arm. His velocity wasn’t good, his curveball wasn’t very good, so obviously the surgery has helped him.”

Rosebeck said his arm is feeling better than ever. To make sure it stays healthy, he does a lot more stretching than he used to and ices his arm longer.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to handle this many innings, but the surgery went great and the rehab went great, and everything is 100 percent,” he said. “I feel like I can last longer, and I don’t get as sore as I used to.”

Rosebeck, who has struck out 39 batters and given up just four earned runs, will make his next start Saturday at Scottsdale CC.

He said one of his keys has been working hitters backwards and starting them with his slider to keep them off-balance.

However, Rosebeck also credits the offense for putting him in a position to win: The Aztecs (22-15, 11-8 ACCAC) have outscored opponents 24-1 in Rosebeck’s three starts.

“They go out there an put up a lot of runs early,” he said. “It allows me to be more relaxed out there and pitch with more confidence, so they’re a lot of help.”

On Tuesday, Pima split a doubleheader at Glendale CC, losing 2-0 before taking the second game 4-2 behind pitcher Ben Skuro (Sabino).

Other sports

  • Softball pitcher
  • Stephanie Vejar
  • , a Tucson High grad, was named the ACCAC Division I Pitcher of the Week on Monday after throwing a combined 14 innings in three appearances in Pima’s six games last week. Vejar picked up a pair of wins, struck out three, and gave up just two walks as the Aztecs went 5-1.

On Tuesday, visiting Pima (16-19) swept El Paso CC, 11-6 and 13-5. Valerie Luera (Cienega) had a two-run homer and a triple in the doubleheader.

  • Nikki Regalado
  • (Cienega) was the top junior-college finisher in the women’s 5,000-meter run at Friday’s Willie Williams Classic. She finished fifth overall in 18 minutes, 26.95 seconds to set the top mark in the nation. Meanwhile,
  • Alfonso Mejia
  • of Douglas ran the men’s 400 hurdles in a nation-best 53.59.
  • First-year football coach
  • Jim Monaco
  • will get the first live look at his team in its spring football scrimmage, scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. at PCC West.

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at 807-7761 or dgaona@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @DanielGaona13