Thoughtful Approach at the Plate Brings Success for Captains’ Logan Vick

For a while, it looked as though the Lake County Captains had fallen into a rut. The young team was losing more games than they were winning, giving up leads in late innings and producing plays marred by numerous errors. Fans weren’t the only ones discouraged by the games, however – Captains’ players noticed the slump just as vividly.

“I know we had been struggling and it seemed like we couldn’t win any games,” left fielder Logan Vick said of his team’s performance throughout the month of April. “We were giving up leads and just not putting hits together to get big wins.”

The absence of big wins, however, changed on Monday night, April 29, at Classic Park, where Vick played a vital role in reversing the Captains’ string of losses. The Captains won both of their games during a double header with the Kane County Cougars, restoring faith in both fans and players alike.

“It was definitely a confidence booster for our team,” Vick said of the wins. “Hopefully we can get something rolling from that. As a team, we played really well and didn’t give up. The score didn’t look very good going into the last inning, and everyone just kept chipping away. I was really impressed with how we didn’t give up and we just kept hitting and things just played out in our favor.”

Vick was up to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning with the tying run on at third base during the first game of the Captains’ double header on April 29. While other players may have felt pressure to swing at something, anything, in order to drive that tying run in, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Vick took a calm and collected approach to his at-bat.

He knew he had to play smart and wait for the perfect pitch, which is exactly what he did. His patience paid off, as he was able to deliver a base hit that tied the game and kept the Captains chances of winning, and their morale, alive.

“I took advantage of being in that situation – luckily it was my name that was called and I got the opportunity to drive in the tying run,” Vick said of his at bat. “I told myself I was just going to wait for something that I could really put a good swing on. I got a fastball and, luckily, I put a good swing on it, and it ended up falling for a base hit.”

That base hit gave Vick a double – and an extreme boost of excitement and confidence.

“I was very pumped after I hit that,” Vick said. “I was on second base and the crowd was going crazy, the guys in the dugout were cheering for me and just going crazy. It’s just awesome to be in that situation; you want to be in that situation, you want to be that person who comes up when the game is on the line and you try to get the scoring run or the winning run in.”

Waiting for the right pitch and getting on base when it counts is a skill that has served Vick well all season. He cites being comfortable in the batter’s box as a skill that has been working for him positively so far in 2013. He said he’s been working with his hitting coaches to work out any issues in his swing.

“I feel really comfortable now,” Vick said. “Back to where I was when I was really hot earlier in the year.”

He has the numbers to demonstrate this comfort, too. Vick has one of the highest batting averages on the team – he’s batting .303, with the team average just .237.

“I’m not trying to hit homeruns,” Vick said of his approach to hitting. “I’m just trying to stay short and sweet and put a good swing on the pitches that I get, and not trying to chase any pitches that are out of the zone.”

His ability to judge a good pitch has also been an asset for Vick, and he has gotten on base 14 times this season on walks.

“I’ve done a good job with taking pitches that I should be taking, and swinging at pitches that I should be swinging at,” Vick said. “That’s paid big dividends for me.”

Vick’s smart approach to hitting has also proved worthwhile for his team, as he does not disappoint once he gets on base. This season, Vick is two for two in stolen base attempts. Last season in Mahoning Valley, he went three for three.

Vick’s ability to get on base through thoughtful at-bats is nothing new. When he played college baseball at Baylor University in Texas, Vick set the school record for single-season walks in 2010 with 59.

Although his skills and style of play has not much changed, Vick has noticed a distinct difference between playing at the college and professional levels.

“The biggest difference from college to professional baseball is having a game every single day,” Vick said. “[You are] trying to get excited for every single game. You have to be able to come to the baseball field, ready to go, and not give away any at-bats. You have to do a lot of self-motivation. [The coaches] expect you to come to the field ready to go.”

Although he says there is not much of a difference between playing with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2012 and this season in Lake County – “There’s better competition, better pitching, and a little larger crowd,” Vick said of playing Class A ball – his numbers have already vastly improved from his 2012 season. In the 22 games he played in 2012, Vick averaged .181 with 13 hits, including 3 doubles and 3 RBIs. This season, he has already had 20 hits, two doubles, a triple, a homerun and 12 RBIs.

Just as Vick knows to watch his pitches, fans should know to watch certain players – and although the season is just getting underway, Vick is turning into one of those players that should be watched.

“I’m not trying to do too much,” Vick said. “I’m just trying to be myself.”

Photo: Jesse Piecuch/DTTWLN photographer

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