By JACK LeGWIN
Hitting .298 on the year with 15 homers and 45 RBI through 59 games for Clemson (45-14, 22-8), Logan Davidson has had a significant impact on a Tigers’ ball club which will be hosting their first game of the NCAA Tournament against Morehead State on Friday.
Having won 19 out of their last 22 games, Davidson explains the team has adopted a simplified mindset that has led to their success in the second half of the season.
“I think it’s the simple approach that we have,” Davidson said. “We got all the guys together and we talked with Coach about what we needed to do, so we were all on the same page as far as that goes. Basically we wanted to keep it simple, see the ball up and hit it hard which is what we stuck with. That’s what’s been the turning point for us. We aren’t thinking at the plate quite as much. We had been doing a lot of thinking and getting in our own way before, so that’s really helped us.”
Davidson feels like the toughness of the conference schedule has helped the Tigers prepare for this part of the season, and puts them at an advantage.
“The ACC is the best conference out there, so it definitely helps us prepare for this time of the year,” Davidson said. “It helps put us in the same situations that we will be in for regionals. Our goal is to make it to Omaha, that’s what we are striving for. Playing in the ACC helps us prepare for big games.”
Davidson’s father, Mark, a former Clemson Tiger player, and current student assistant coach for the Tigers program, has supported Logan through the ups and downs of baseball. Logan says his dad’s teachings and wisdom have helped him navigate through the triumphs and mistakes.
“You learn about the game by playing it,” explains Davidson. “Getting that feedback when you do things wrong, and when you do things right. That’s helped me a lot. Everyone is going to fail, you just have to take those moments and learn from them so they happen the least amount that they can happen. That’s been a big thing that he’s helped me with.”
Taught to be a switch hitter by his father, Davidson soon learned that it could be an asset for him long term.
“That was something that my dad set me up to do,” Davidson explained. “He saw the value in it. He wanted me to stick with it because he knew how valuable it would be. It was tougher to stick with it at certain ages, but when you get to the high school level, and you’re seeing pitches from both sides of the plate, and you don’t want to do left on left or right on right, it’s definitely helpful.”
As for the next step out of high school, Davidson said that choosing Clemson was an easy decision.
“Between the coaches, the campus, the baseball program, as well as my dad going here and the legacy he had here, I felt like it was a perfect fit.”
What’s it like being an elite athlete at a big ACC school like Clemson?
“It’s awesome,” laughed Davidson. “I wouldn’t say that I get the recognition that Deshaun Watson got or anything like that, but it’s still awesome to be a part of the standard of excellence that Clemson has with their athletic programs. Across the board with all sports, it’s a great experience to be a part of.”
Entering his freshman year, Davidson was fortunate to have an excellent role model in Seth Beer, who he could look to as an example.
“(Seth) had an incredible freshman year obviously,” Davidson observed. “Being a part of that team with him as a sophomore though, was great. He works incredibly hard in the cages and on every aspect of his game.”
A former North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year in his senior season, Davidson spoke on the learning curve that comes with the transition from high school to college.
“I feel like there’s a grace period at some point for freshmen,” Davidson said. “A lot of us can come in as a freshman and play well for a certain amount of time, but then at some point college baseball is going to hit you. Something’s going to happen and you’re going to get into a slump. It’s almost inevitable. The older you get the better you’re going to get, learning from the mistakes that you’ve made.”
Following his freshman season, Davidson elected to head to Falmouth, Massachusetts to play in the highly renown Cape Cod League, a place where high level college baseball players hone their craft, but it wasn’t an easy adjustment for the Clemson shortstop.
“The transition was really tough for me,” admitted Davidson. “I had played a lot that spring, somewhere around 1,000 innings or so. I hadn’t played that much before. It was a struggle a lot of times up there. The hardest part for me was playing every day and having a more professional approach to the game on a day in and day out basis. If you had a rain-out, it was going to be a long time before you got a day off. It was about adjusting to playing every day.”
Having received much criticism for the way that he played defensively in his freshman year, Davidson worked hard to make the changes to improve that part of his game while on the Cape.
“Defensively, I made the biggest jump there,” Davidson said. “I did a lot of work before the games. A lot of times it wasn’t the best, because we were playing every day and you’re on your feet so much, so getting off them wasn’t really an option. I had a small injury sliding and messed my foot up a bit, but working on my footwork was the biggest key for me. Keeping my feet moving and not getting static. I want to give a little bit of a shoutout to the coaches up there because some of them were working with me every day. That was huge for me.”
Possibly the hardest part of playing in the Cape League is the experience that it offers.
“It’s definitely going to help to prepare me for the future,” Davidson stated. “I feel like that was a good pace about what baseball is like. That experience is going to be able to help me a lot, especially when I’m playing in a day in and day out basis. You realize that you’re going to face failure and you’re going to have to deal with that, and I learned that a lot this past summer.”
Davidson has dealt with that adversity well this year and is currently the #1 prospect in the ACC for the 2019 MLB Draft by Perfect Game, but he says the possibility of getting drafted a bit over a year from now is the last thing on his mind.
“Naturally, I try to strive to get better and to do my best at everything I do,” Davidson said. “The thing that I get from my dad is that I’m very competitive. The draft is a long way away. I have to focus on what I do on a daily basis to get better and be the best at what I am.”
Photo: ABC Columbia
Video: ACC Digital Network