Vogelbach's Power is One of a Kind

When the ball finally landed, the only thing Daniel Vogelbach heard was silence. There were wide eyes from fellow players and others in the crowd, but it was a sense of disbelief that was the most evident. No one thought a baseball could go that far.

The Bishop Verot first baseman did the unthinkable when he hit a 508-foot home run at the Power Showcase International Home Run Derby on January 1 at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The blast helped Vogelbach win the competition, but there was one swing everyone wanted to talk about.

"A lot of people were just in awe," Vogelbach said. "I don't think many people thought a ball could go that far. I think a lot of people can do it, but it just comes down to being the lucky guy to run into a ball like that."

Vogelbach's 508-foot home run broke the Power Showcase record, previously set the year before when Bryce Harper hit one 502 feet. The Washington Nationals selected Harper with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, and he is now viewed as one of the top prospects in baseball.

With one swing, Vogelbach erased Harper's name from the record books.

The event showcased the top 90 high school power hitters in the world, with 80 from within the United States. They took one round with wood bats and then used their metal bats.

Vogelbach hit 19 home runs in one round. Over the course of the showcase, there were three separate times when he hit five straight home runs. He totaled 30 home runs in the entire showcase.

But it was the one swing that he won't ever forget.

"I knew I hit it far, but I never would've expected to hit a ball that far," Vogelbach said. "It felt good coming off the bat. I hit a couple balls that I thought were pretty far, and I thought that ball would just be another one. Then it just kept going."

The power Vogelbach demonstrates earned him multiple offers for college, but he decided last summer that he wanted to play for the Gators. The first baseman grew up dreaming of playing college baseball in Gainesville. It didn't take much time for him to act on the offer and commit to head coach Kevin O'Sullivan.

"Ever since I've been a little kid, I was always a Gator fan," Vogelbach said. "The thought of being a Gator jumped out at me right off the bat. Once I saw the campus and the field, it was a no-doubter. I didn't want to be anywhere else. (The Florida coaches) made me feel right at home from the beginning."

Signing with Florida also gave Vogelbach a chance to continue playing with one of his close friends. Right-handed pitcher Hudson Boyd transferred to Bishop Verot in the offseason, and the two will play their senior years together. Bishop Verot returns every starter from a team that lost in the regional finals last year. Boyd could be the piece that pushes them to the next level.

Boyd and Vogelbach have already told the Florida coaches they plan on rooming together in Gainesville.

"We've played together since we were 13," Vogelbach said. "It's awesome to be on the same team again, because we're so much alike. We both hate to lose and we're hard workers. When we're together, it makes it more fun to play."

Vogelbach took his official visit to Gainesville the weekend that the football team hosted South Carolina. He also took trips when the football team played USF and LSU. The first baseman was able to get more accustomed to the campus on those trips and get to know some of his future teammates.

"The baseball players are big deals around there," Vogelbach said. "They have a reputation of being good and everybody knows about them. I also saw that Coach Sully runs a pretty tight ship, which I like a lot. It shows how much he cares about his players."

The one hurdle left between Vogelbach and officially being a Gator is the MLB Draft June 6-8. He is going into it without any expectations.

"I'm heading to Gainesville after the season and ready to start my career as a Gator," Vogelbach said. "I don't let the (draft) stuff come into my head. I just play, and whatever happens will happen. My mom has always told me that you have to take life one step at a time, so right now, I'm focusing on my high school season. I look at it like I'm heading to Gainesville in the summer. I'm thinking that I'm going to Gainesville unless something happens. I don't expect anything."

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