Players have never had a problem getting recognition from fans at Keene State College sporting events, but now the teams and players are getting noticed more than ever before.
The drafting of KSC student Corey Vogt by the Red Sox back in June marked the beginning of a new reputation for KSC athletics.
As the first ever MLB draft pick from KSC’s baseball team, Vogt made it apparent that playing at a Division III school can offer the same opportunity as athletes playing Division I sports.
Vogt stated he knew he wanted this in his future and never doubted going to a Division III school could bring him success.
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“It’s why I played college ball,” Vogt said. “I knew it was an obtainable goal.”
Nick Winn, current baseball player at KSC and Vogt’s former teammate, said the team learned from Vogt that if scouts recognized him at a Division III school it is possible for anyone.
“It makes us believe if we work as hard as he did, we can make it as far as he did,” Winn said.
Athletic Director John Ratliff stated this accomplishment of a former player had a significant impact on recruits.
“Students will look at this and say ‘Okay that can happen at a Division III school,’” Ratliff said.
By seeing this, he said more players will look at a Division III school as an opportunity for success in athletics, just like Division I athletics.
Baseball Head Coach Ken Howe agreed on the big impact it would have on recruits, along with the impact on other high school seniors looking for a career in baseball.
Howe said Vogt’s success will spark the interest in high school seniors hoping to follow the same path in life as a baseball player like Vogt. Besides the huge impact on upcoming college students, Howe said it also impacted current baseball players at Keene.
Howe said scouts look at schools with recent success in order to find their next draft pick.
Howe said this makes it look more promising for the players on the field and shows them if they work hard like Vogt did, scouts will notice them as well. Ratliff stated the draft affects the baseball department more than any of the other sports teams at KSC; however, this shows all athletes that it could happen to them too.
“Athletes in the department are like one big family,” Ratliff said of other sports players, “They’re all happy for him and proud to see that it is possible, that there is a next level.”
Vogt stated it was his hard work and the help of his coaches that got him this far.
“Athletes at Keene just need to work hard to get where they want to get. It is possible,” Vogt said.
Vogt said he started off as an immature freshman and needed the discipline from his coaches in order to grow up.
“I remember my meeting with my coaches sophomore year. They told me I had a lot of growing up to do on and off the field,” Vogt said.
Vogt said hearing these words made him realize he needed to take it more seriously. Vogt said by junior year he found it in him to mature, which was the key to improving his game.
Howe stated Vogt was raw when he came in as a freshman but he could see the potential he had.
“Corey has something you can’t teach… arm strength. It’s a God-given gift,” Howe said.
Vogt said he took a lot from KSC baseball with him as he moved up.
“I’ve learned to deal with the pressure of knowing if I don’t pitch well, we’ll lose,” Vogt said.
Ratliff said Vogt’s accomplishment speaks well for the program at Keene State College. Ratliff said it makes people see the dedication in the players at Keene State College and makes them more comparable to a Division I athletics program.
“We look at the accomplishment and know that it means we are doing something right,” Ratliff said.
Ratliff also said it shows Howe and Marty Testo, associate head coach and pitching coach, are doing their job the right way and teaching their players how to be the best they can.
Vogt said he still keeps in contact with his former coaches, Howe and Testo. He said he can’t thank his coaches enough. Vogt also said he will come to Keene to see his teammates as much as he can on his free time.
“The good thing about it is he is still the same old Corey,” Winn said.
Vogt said this accomplishment is extremely overwhelming, mostly because of the excitement.
“I ain’t no superstar yet. I don’t forget the roots,” Vogt said.
With the success that could be in his future, Vogt said he won’t forget how he got to where he is today.
Jenn Richards can be contacted at email@example.com