Former area standouts make adjustments at Copiah-Lincoln

Published 11:50 pm Thursday, May 27, 2010

WESSON — The season may be over for the Copiah-Lincoln baseball team, but three former Natchez standouts couldn’t have gone out on a higher note.

Former ACCS start Luke Brumfield, former Trinity player Matthew Freeman and former Natchez High School athlete Kendall Logan all completed their sophomore seasons at Co-Lin. And all three were given very high marks by baseball coach Keith Case.

For Brumfield, who finished the season with a .298 batting average and a .392 on-base percentage, the adjustments made from year one to year two were significant, Case said.

“Defensively, he was a lot better than he was as a freshman. He was very sound in the field, and probably the biggest thing was that his work ethic this year was really impressive,” Case said.

“He was always the first one there and the last to leave every day. The production was there, and I’m very proud of how he conducted himself.”

Case said he thought the pace of the college game was a little fast for Brumfield during his freshman year, when he was still used to the tempo of high school ball.

“When guys show up, it’s an adjustment. People don’t understand that the speed and caliber of the game is a lot different than it is in high school,” Case said.

“It’s hard to make that adjustment, and some guys never make it. At times, as a freshman, I think the game controlled him, but he controlled the game this year and was a really good college baseball player.”

Freeman, who hit .253 with a .422 on-base percentage this year, was moved to the designated hitter’s spot after being a third baseman his freshman year.

“We had a freshman move in that won the spot at third because he was a pretty good defensive guy there, but we wanted to keep Matthew’s bat in the lineup,” Case said.

“He swung the bat well for us. He’s athletic, and has some pop in his bat, and he batted in the middle of the order for us both years.”

Case was especially complimentary of Freeman’s ability to hit despite being in the dugout for half of the game.

“Sometimes it’s a little harder being on the bench and not on the field, as far as staying in the rhythm and flow of the game. Some guys can’t adjust to being a DH or pinch hitter, but to his credit, Matthew made those adjustments and came up with some big hits for us,” Case said.

Of the three former area standouts, Logan received the most accolades this season. He finished with a .385 average, .453 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging percentage. Logan was also awarded first team All-State and was an academic All-American.

“I’m really proud of how he matured. He’s always been very athletic, but he’s turned into a baseball player this year,” Case said.

“He’s signed to play for Jackson State, and the Florida Marlins had him in a pre-draft workout recently. Either way, I think he’ll have a chance to play pro ball before it’s all over.”

Case said Logan putting a lot of work into baseball is what allowed him to excel this season.

“I can credit his former basketball coach at Natchez High, Mike Martin, for really pushing him to physically work out and get better,” Case said.

“He was not a polished player when he got here by any means, but he really turned into a great college baseball player.”

Co-Lin finished 19-30 this season, and Case said he hopes his pitching can improve for next spring.

“We lost some guys in the staff that hurt us, and we had some guys who probably should have been in the bullpen that had to start,” he said.

“They worked hard, and I’m not putting them down, but we put them in a position where it was hard to succeed. We just have to regroup, and hopefully we’ll bring some guys in and get better.”