Logan Leverett has come along way.
In that time, the former Harrisburg High School standout has learned a lot of things. More notably are the things that can make him a better player on the ball field.
Leverett said the strides he made the past two years, while playing at Southeastern Illinois Community College and this past year for head coach Jeremy Irlbeck are the main reasons why he can now call Illinois State University home.
Leverett signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball playing career recently and admitted it caught him by surprise.
Leverett gained interest from ISU and Marshall University, but his visit to Bloomington was one that sold him immediately.
"This all happened very fast," Leverett said. "But it has been one of the most exciting experiences in my life."
Leverett tipped his hat to his coaching staff at SIC, for setting him up with this opportunity, but admits he put in a lot of hard work himself.
"I think my maturity and development as a player is where I have made the most strides," he said. "I'm seeing the ball better and my mindset is just so much better. I think I've always had the talent, but the mindset hasn't always been there. Now, it is."
Leverett led the Falcons with a .355 batting average this past season. In 141 at-bats, he compiled 50 hits, which tied him for most of the team, with 32 singles, 11 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 26 RBIs.
Irlbeck said without having knowledge of what Leverett did a year ago, one thing was for certain, his home run numbers may be down, but his average is certainly up.
"That's one of the things that we worked on," Irlbeck said. "We worked on approach. We worked on a two-strike approach, a going back up the middle approach. I think it paid off for him.
"The numbers will tell you prior to me coming here that he was a very aggressive swinger. Maybe he really didn't know the strike zone, maybe didn't have a great approach, but no doubt that he's got pop. He's a big, strong kid with tremendous bat speed."
Leverett said that the dream of playing for a Division 1 college is something he has always had and is excited about the next stage of his career.
"I think the words of the Illinois State coaches were 'I'm a very good ballplayer', but they are going to 'make me great'".
Irlbeck added that having a player like Leverett represent not only southern Illinois, but SIC at Illinois State is something he is very proud of.
"They (Illinois State) think he can be a guy for them and that means the world to me. Not only is he a great kid, but he's a reflection of our program. He's a great kid and his baseball IQ really is unbelievable, but coming from a baseball school like Harrisburg, that shouldn't be a surprise."
Page 2 of 2 - Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.