Improvement on mental game keys success for Woodstock’s Hoggarth

Woodstock's Logan Hoggarth retrieves a bat while on deck during a July 15th game against Winchester. Hoggarth has given the River Bandits a lift this season offensively and defensively. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK — Logan Hoggarth’s game improved a lot over the last year and the Woodstock River Bandit credits much of that to his time playing in the Valley Baseball League last summer.

Hoggarth played for the River Bandits last year and said Woodstock manager Phil Betterly helped him a lot with his mental approach, and it made a huge difference.

“I would say that’s what I lacked the past couple years,” Hoggarth said of his mental game. “I had the physicality, I just lacked the mental side of the game. Last year I really started to hone in on it and I think that’s what’s helped me so much. I know not to get so frustrated. I would get frustrated a lot. Now, after at-bats, I don’t get frustrated. I just scratch that and look to the future. I just think I’m going to get ’em my next at-bat.”

Betterly said that Hoggarth already had the physical tools, but last summer he tried to get him to pay more attention to what the pitcher was doing and what he might throw, and to not let a bad at-bat bother him so much.

“I just kind of talked him through maybe how a pitcher pitched him that at-bat. Or talking about focusing on hitting the ball on the barrel. If you do that, the rest is out of your hands,” Betterly said. “And how you can’t get mad if you barrel up a baseball. That’s all you can do. That’s all you’re trying to do. When that happens and you learn to let it go, just move on, that’s the biggest adjustment.”

Woodstock's Logan Hoggarth takes a swing at a pitch during their game against Winchester last week. The Boston College outfielder made the All-Star team for the second straight year. Rich Cooley/Daily

It certainly made a big difference for Hoggarth this past year at Boston College. In 2014 as a sophomore, Hoggarth played in 28 games (24 starts), had a .237 batting average, four doubles, seven runs scored, seven walks and 12 RBIs. This season with a better mental approach at the plate and of the game, Hoggarth was second on the team with a .300 batting average (51 for 170). He played in 49 games (44 starts), and had seven doubles, 17 runs scored, 12 RBIs and 15 walks.

With the success he had last year for the River Bandits, where he was an All-Star selection, Hoggarth said it was an easy decision when Betterly asked him to come back this year. He said he has a good relationship with Betterly and really enjoys playing for him and Woodstock.

Hoggarth is from North Port, Florida, which is a city with a population of 57,000 near Sarasota, Florida. He said it was an adjustment coming to Woodstock last year, growing up in a city and playing in Boston in college.

“I got here — it’s a small town — I wasn’t used to it. I was like, ‘Oh Jesus, I don’t know about this,’ but ever since then it’s turned out to be an awesome experience,” Hoggarth said. ” … It’s kind of like a breather. You know, just to relax and play ball and not have to worry about a lot of things. It eases your mind.”

This season for the River Bandits, Hoggarth is hitting .286 (28 for 98) in 25 games. He has scored 16 runs, has four doubles, seven RBIs and three stolen bases. He’s also drawn 10 walks.

For the second consecutive year, Hoggarth made the All-Star team.

“It’s awesome representing Woodstock and the team and your coaches and the community,” Hoggarth said. “It’s just fun going there, playing and meeting all the kids from the other teams. Just being in that type of atmosphere is always fun. I was very fortunate enough to receive it twice. I’m very grateful for it.”

Hoggarth’s defense is also top-notch. Betterly said his ability to get a jump on the ball and his speed make him perfect for the outfield, and he can play anywhere in the outfield.

“I really don’t have to position him at all,” Betterly said. “He knows how to read swings and one of the catches he made the other night in the gap … not too many center fielders get it, and the reason he got it was because of the angle he took and also because of the jump that he got. That’s the stuff you look for in an outfielder.”

Hoggarth said that he’s excited for the upcoming season at Boston College. The Eagles went 27-27 last year and 10-18 in the very tough ACC. Hoggarth said that they have a lot returning and a talented freshman class coming in.

The River Bandits started off slowly, but Hoggarth said that he feels like they are making progress and could finish the season strong. They are only 2.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the North Division with eight games left.

“I feel like we’re just starting to figure it out and come together as a team,” Hoggarth said. “One day it’s maybe pitching, one day it’s hitting. Now I feel like we’re starting to do it together all at once. I feel like we can rattle off a couple in a row right here and really make a run at the playoffs and hopefully even more.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com