Freshman All-American and former Triton pitcher now visiting with junior colleges
Shortly after being named a Freshman All-American by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (CBN), rising sophomore relief pitcher Logan Bender is parting ways with the Campbell Camels.
“As of right now, I’m weighing my options junior college-wise,” Bender said. “I’ve moved on from Campbell and I’m trying to find a junior college that fits my needs, that I can contribute to and help them win.”
Bender said he’s looking into several colleges, including Catawba Valley Community College, Pitt Community College, Louisburg College, Brunswick Community College and a junior college in Indiana, Wabash Valley.
The 2018 CBN Freshman All-American felt good about his final season with Campbell Baseball. “It didn’t end the way I wanted it to (but) this season was a success,” he said.
Bender respectfully explained his reasoning behind leaving Buies Creek, saying, “I had differences with the entire pitching perspective as a whole.”
Though it did not impact his decision to find another team, Bender did have Tommy John’s surgery two years ago, and it changed him as a player.
“I got hurt freshman year,” he said. “It prevented me from playing, but it made me better mentally.” After Bender’s ulnar collateral ligament tore, it was replaced with another, smaller tendon in his arm.
“It’s common for all pitchers nowadays,” he said. “It has like a 95 percent success rate. It wasn’t bad, like I thought it was going to be.”
For the year after Tommy John’s surgery, Bender was blessed with a forgone opportunity. He was hurt, so he had to sit in the bullpen, or dugout, and watch other players pitch.
He called it a mental exercise, preparing him for a return. “I was able to see things from a different perspective,” he said.
For a year, he watched how other pitchers reacted to throwing bad pitches. He surveyed their body language — whether they were emotional or calm — and what they did afterward.
Prior to Bender sitting out one season, he dealt with an inability to “flush” a bad pitch and regain his composure without becoming emotional. And he had struggled with his command at times while pitching for the Hawks of Triton High School.
“Before Campbell, I was fastball heavy,” he said. Since then, he’s developed other, off-speed and breaking pitches, which have helped him get the tough outs as a reliever. “I describe myself as a strikeout pitcher. I like to get the outs myself.”
He went 5-2 in 29 appearances his rookie year. In 47.1 innings, Bender struck out 64 batters and walked 31. He finished the season with a 3.42 ERA and opposing hitters batted just .199 against him last season. The right-handed Dunn native is the second CU player to earn freshman All-American honors. Matthew Barefoot, also of Dunn, earned CBN recognition last season. Bender was also named Big South Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Conference.
“Looking back, having the year that I had, I’m definitely happy about that,” Bender said.