Monday, August 9, 2010

Cogswell jetting off to Charlottesville

Branden Cogswell fields a ground ball at shortstop for the South Troy Dodgers during the summer of 2009. Cogswell, who is a rising senior at Shenendehowa High School, recently made a verbal committment to play baseball at the University of Virginia. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

BALLSTON LAKE — Branden Cogswell has had a lifelong dream of being a commercial airline pilot, but he’s putting that goal on hold, deciding to take a flight to Charlottesville, Va. and Atlantic Coast Conference baseball.

Monday, Cogswell, a Ballston Lake native, made a verbal commitment to play baseball for the University of Virginia.

Cogswell, who is entering his senior year at Shenendehowa High School, has played on the South Troy Dodgers’ 18-and-under Connie Mack team for the past two summers. A lefthanded hitter, he was the Dodgers’ starting shortstop and No. 2 hitter as a 16-year-old, which was a rarity for South Troy’s elite team to feature a player that young, sometime against pitchers who had just finished their freshman year of college.

He started getting looked at by colleges last fall, but his final decision was between Purdue University, which features aviation as a major, and Virginia, which finished the 2010 season ranked No. 10 in the NCAA Division I poll.

“It all started in the fall of last year and it’s a long process,” Cogswell said. “First it started with the local schools and then it kind of went nationwide. We just tried to take the best fit and what I feel I can do at Virginia seems like the best fit for me.”

Cogswell, a second-team Class AA All-State player as a junior at Shenendehowa, batted .424 for the Plainsmen this spring with three home runs and 27 RBI in 66 at-bats. He was also walked 22 times as Suburban Council hurlers often pitched around him.

ACC, Big East and Colonial Athletic Association coaches haven’t been the only people tracking Cogswell over the past year. Major League scouts are also on the trail and some made the trek to Geer Field in Troy this summer to see him play for the Dodgers in their American Amateur Baseball Congress Connie Mack World Series qualifying tournaments.

Cogswell, however, will wait to cross the bridge in June 2011 in case his name is called in the first year player draft.

“You don’t have control of whether you get drafted or not,” he said. “I would love to see it happen, but I would have to go in an early round and get a lot of money to take me away from college. If the offer is there money-wise, fine, but I’ll face that decision if it comes.”

While he’s played exclusively at shortstop in recent years, Cogswell isn’t afraid of making a position switch if that leads to playing time at Virginia.

“I would love to stay in the middle infield, but at college it’s just about getting an opportunity and they tell me that the opportunity will be there,” he said. “I have to take their word on that. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to play at that level and excel and succeed and I want to challenge to win a job.”

Cogswell is putting his aviation plan on hold for now, but that’s fine with him since his baseball career is just beginning to take flight.

“It turned out that my final two were Purdue and Virginia, and Purdue does offer aviation, but I knew my true love and passion is for baseball,” he said.

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