Hornet Sluggers Extend Playing Career

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Hornet Sluggers Extend Playing Career

Chris Morgan, Sports editor

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Finishing up last season with an overall record of 21-10-1 and falling in the second round of the 7A State baseball playoff to Har-Ber 3-2, the Hornet baseball team’s aspirations for a fourth state title in 8 years ended prematurely. However, their hopes were not over, as 4 of the starting players in the final game would return for their senior year.

These seniors, Logan Catton, Logan Chambers, Jake Wright and Coby Greiner, went on to receive offers from around the south region to continue their playing careers in college. Joining the group in signing are seniors Logan Grant and Will McEntire.

“I got to see progression over the last 4 years,” head coach Travis Queck said. “It has been tremendous. As a group, we have relied heavily [on them], and they have come through. They provide good leadership and they have had to do it from a young age.”

Queck believes having 6 players signing to play college baseball is a good omen for the upcoming spring season.

“It bodes well for us,” Queck said. “But they realize we have work to do and can accomplish anything.”

Signing to play at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Logan Catton is a middle infielder for the Hornets, primarily playing second base last season.

“[Catton has] a high character,” Queck said. “He does it in the classroom and he does it on the baseball field. He is not a very vocal guy, but a leader by example. Catton has probably had the biggest jump for us from last year. He took over third base, and there was no problem at all.”

Catton has not always had the desire to play in college.

“I had not really thought about playing college ball until this summer,” Catton said.

Catton believes his experience makes him valuable wherever he plays on the field.

“I am pretty versatile,” Catton said. “I have played a lot of different places. I have played second, short and first. I [also] took up third sophomore year during batting practice.”

Joining Catton at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith is Logan Grant, right-handed pitcher for the Hornets.

“Logan Grant may have the most potential of anyone on our team,” Queck said. “His freshman year he had Tommy-John [surgery] and he took longer than we would have liked to recover. [Grant] was not 100 percent, and he was out there throwing a 1-0 ballgame to Cabot, who went on to be first or second in conference. If he locates that, it may be a shutout, and it is a different result to the season.”

Grant got the opportunity to share his committing experience with his team mates.

“Me and Catton went up there to visit and they [made us an] offer a couple of days later,” Grant said. “I was dead set on it, and once I got the offer, that was it.”

Grant missed out on part of his high school career because of his injury but has made the most of the time he has had.Grant returned last year against Lakeside, pitching a perfect two innings.

“It went pretty good,” Grant said. “I was pretty excited.”

Grant took advice from others, focusing on taking care of himself more carefully.

“I am back and better now,” Grant said. “Freshman to junior year, I sat the bench and watched my friends play, thinking ‘I wish that was me.’”

Hornet first baseman Logan Chambers will continue his career at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri.

“I remember Chambers at in middle school, asking questions about what we do in our program,” Queck said. “He has such a willingness to learn the game, whatever he needs to do to help his team. Last year, he swung really well from the left and demonstrated a lot of power. Defensively, he may end up playing shortstop or second base for us, and then a college third or first baseman. The thing with Chambers is they know exactly what they are going to get with him.”

Chambers was contacted during the summer when he was playing for the Black Sox American Legion team.

“Crowder contacted me this summer,” Chambers said. “They liked the way I played, and I liked what they do. It fits into the way Bryant plays and how I have grown up playing.”

Chambers had a couple of other options to choose from when selecting where to sign.

“I considered [the University of Central Arkansas],” Chambers said. “They liked me too, and I liked the program, but I felt more comfortable with Crowder and the way they do things.

Chambers believes Crowder will give him a chance to continue his career with a bigger school.

“Crowder sends a lot of guys to a lot bigger schools and other places,” Chambers said.

Signing to play for the Murray State Aggies is Hornet catcher Jake Wright.

“I cannot speak highly enough of [Wright],” Queck said. “He is a guy who is willing to do the hard work. There is never a ‘I cannot do that’ moment or ‘That is too much to ask of me.’ It is always ‘Yes, sir.’ The character and the charisma behind the dish, we have to have that same leadership from someone coming in behind him.”

Wright gained the attention of college scouts from playing summer baseball.

“They noticed me at a tournament in Omaha,” Wright said.

Wright had other offers but chose Murray State for the potential of extending his career even further.

“I had offers from Delta State, Harding, Monticello and Arkansas Fort Smith,” Wright said. “This decision allows me to see how far I can get. Coming out of [junior college] for two years, you can go anywhere.”

As for his position on the team, Murray State wants Wright to stick to catcher.

“They said I may be able to help out in the infield at third base, but mainly catcher,” Wright said.

Joining Wright in Tishomingo, Oklahoma at Murray State is pitcher Coby Greiner.

“He comes in as a pitcher, and [former] Coach [Kirk] Bock introduced the idea of dropping him down, and then he figured out how to locate his fastball and his slider to hit both sides of the plate,” Queck said. “That young man exploded off that, and he took it and ran. He is already athletic, and it was an easy transition for him. [Greiner] got a tremendous amount of outs when we needed them last year. At the plate, I think he has a career .300 average, and as a team, he realizes we have more to accomplish.”

Greiner was noticed while playing American Legion baseball at a tournament in New Orleans.

“[Murray State] called me and asked me to come up for a visit,” Greiner said. “They offered me on the phone, and I went back again and committed there.”

While Greiner is a pitcher, he also sees himself as an outfielder.

“I love center field,” Greiner said. “I like pitching, but I love center field. [Murray State] saw me for pitching, but they said they would let me play the field too.”

Rounding out the list of signees is Hornet pitcher Will McEntire as a walk-on at the University of Arkansas.

“[McEntire] has the makings and the framework to just explode,” Queck said. “We hope as a team it happens for us, but we definitely expect it to happen for him at the University of Arkansas. The opportunity is phenomenal for Will, and he has been an ace for us. He just competed, and it will be fun to watch in the spring.”

McEntire got the attention of Arkansas by attending camps as well as showing off his skill on the mound.

“I went up there for camp for the second or third year in a row,” McEntire said. “I pitched the best I had all summer. I struck out 9 or 10 batters, and they offered me a walk-on scholarship.”

McEntire considered Crowder as an alternative option, but chose not to pass up the opportunity to play for his favorite team.

“They said I had an SEC-ready breaking ball,” McEntire said. “But they have a weighted ball program, and I want to move up there in June.”

As for the pressure of playing for Arkansas, McEntire wants to “give it his best.”

“I have nothing to lose,” McEntire said. “I grew up being a Razorback fan, so it is awesome getting to go up and play for them.”

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