Power playPublished 6:10pm Saturday, April 13, 2013
CHOCOWINITY — On a young team, a powerful veteran bat can make a big difference and as this season heads down the home stretch Southside is hoping that senior Hayden Bogart’s stick can help slingshot the Seahawks into playoff contention.
The first half of the season contained a lot of growing pains for the youthful Seahawks, but a win over Four Rivers Conference rival Northside in their first game back from the Easter break breathed life into Southside and possibly momentum.
Bogart’s impact was felt during Southside’s 8-3 win over the Panthers as he went 2-3 with a triple and three RBIs. Though it might seem unfair to ask, the Seahawks are going to need many more nights like that from him if they want to get themselves in the hunt for the playoffs.
“He’s real key for us,” Southside coach Jeff Carrow said. “When he’s hot and one or two other guys get hot then the whole team is hot. Our team feeds off of him a lot. If he’s hitting the ball early I have a good feeling.”
Bogart said he likes to keep his approach simple inside the batter’s box.
“I try to do what I can,” Bogart said. “I just want to put the ball in play.”
That mentality has paid off at the plate as Bogart has transformed into more of a complete hitter that is capable of using the entire field.
“He’s done a real good job this year of learning how to hit backside,” Carrow said. “A lot of his big hits this year have been backside gap shots. It’s very impressive.”
The key, Bogart said, to all those opposite field hits is a little patience.
“I just wait on the ball more instead of trying to be all up front on it,” Bogart said.
While the 6-0, 250-pound No. 3 hitter is Southside’s leader in every major offensive statistical category, he’s also a leader on the field and in the dugout.
Early in the year, Bogart was asked to switch from catcher, a position he has played for the Seahawks the last three seasons, to third base and did so faster than he can crush a 3-1 fastball.
“We needed to get more solid at the corners. We had a young guy in Alex Graves that’s been stepping up for us and his arm has gotten better and we felt he could take some of the burden off of Hayden behind the plate,” Carrow said. “Hayden’s got a pretty darn good glove at third base so that makes us solid there.”
As the sun begins to set on Bogart’s senior year, the Seahawks slugger has shown he can lead by more than just example.
“He’s done a good job in the second half of the season being the vocal leader that we need him to be,” Carrow said. “He’s taking responsibility. He was humble enough to switch positions and he’s done a good job there.”