MARIETTA, Ga. - Right-handed pitcher Matt Vogel (Medford, N.Y./Patchogue Medford) has experienced the 100-plus degree heat the last two weeks playing in the U-18 and U-17 World Wood Bat Association national championships and he’s ready to be down south full time.
Vogel, who picked South Carolina over North Carolina, Florida, Florida State, and Duke, has already forged a great relationship with a lot of players in the 2013 recruiting class, despite living 1,000 miles away.
Catcher commitment Nick Ciuffo (Lexington/Lexington) was the first to get to know Vogel as the two played together for Team USA last summer winning the gold medal in Mexico. Ciuffo played a key role in convincing Vogel, who at one point was ranked a top 20 player nationally, to commit to play his college baseball for the Gamecocks.
“Ever since I’ve committed, I gained a lot of friends who were already committed,” Vogel said. “They’ve all be friendly to me and I can’t wait to play with them on the diamond.”
Vogel is currently rated as the No. 99 player in the nation by Perfect Game and is part of a 2013 recruiting class that only two other out of state commitments - third baseman Travis Demeritte (Statham, Ga./Winder Barrow) and catcher Logan Koch (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenberg).
“The SEC is the best baseball competition in the country,” Vogel said. “South Carolina, there’s no place like it. I can’t wait to put that Gamecock jersey on and rep not only the University of South Carolina but the whole state of South Carolina. That’s a dream come true to put on a college uniform and represent your team and school.”
The primary reason that Vogel’s ranking has dropped is because he hasn’t pitched much since last summer. He had just a few appearances during his high school season after being diagnosed with elbow tendinitis.
Vogel, with a healthy elbow, cranked his performances on the mound back up this week during the U-17 WWBA championships. He allowed one hit and two walks while striking out four in 1.1 scoreless innings. He was as high as 91 mph on the radar gun.
“It was nothing too serious,” Vogel said of his injury. “I’m back on the mound this summer and hopefully I’ll get some looks by some scouts. If not, I’ve got South Carolina.”
Scouts have typically drooled over Vogel, who sports a low-90s fastball. As he pitches this summer, he’ll likely move back up in the rankings and the eyes of the scouts, who have viewed him as a big-money arm.
“I take control over the whole game,” Vogel said. “No one compares to me on the mound, I don’t think. There are other kids who throw 95-plus, but when I’m on the mound, I feel like I’m in total control and nobody can stop me. There are days when you have bad days, you’re going to lose games, but I’m going to put forth my best effort to win every game possible.”
Vogel will finish up the week with the South Florida Bandits showcase team before heading back home briefly. Then it will be off to Florida for the next round of showcase events.
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