Logan Power saw the Hillcrest express headed toward Oxford again, and he jumped on board. The train was making its annual trek from the baseball powerhouse in south Jackson to the Ole Miss campus in north Mississippi.
It wasn't necessarily an easy decision he made back during his senior year of high school in 2003-04, nor does it actually appear to have been that difficult, if you listen to Power discuss it.
Among the things his decision came down to were an up and coming program at Ole Miss and the fact that other recent Hillcrest players, like Stephen Head and Seth Smith, had become Rebels.
You won't find a lot more about it in talking to the quiet and soft-spoken Power. Any other real aspects of his decision are mostly unsaid.
Some of that may be from the fact that his family has Mississippi State roots, and pretty strong ones. His dad, Mark, graduated from MSU. His brother, Mark Jr., played baseball for the Bulldogs from 1993-97. His sister, Lindsey Power Leach, is an MSU alum, was a Bulldog Diamond Girl, was Homecoming Queen and chosen Most Beautiful at MSU.
Logan said he spent a lot of time in Starkville and had attended many games at Dudy Noble Field. But when it came time to make a decision, Power felt his best opportunity was at Ole Miss. His family has been very supportive.
"My whole family went to State and I went to every game my brother played," he said. "But they're all coming up here now. They love it.
"I thought about everything and leaned both ways at times," Power continued, talking about his decision. "I'm glad I came here. I had a good feeling about it all along."
The Hillcrest connection was obviously a factor as well.
"It's been a trend and made it a lot easier for me," he said. "I already knew a lot of the guys here."
With decisions like where to attend college now long since past, Power has focused for two years on becoming a better baseball player. He redshirted last spring but then tore a hamstring in the fall and missed the entire practice sessions with the team.
He had a good preseason but really began to make a move in March. In the past month he's played in a lot of games, mostly in left field.
"I'm feeling really good, getting these spot starts, getting more ABs," said Power, batting .345 with 29 appearances in 38 games with five starts, all in left field. "I feel like I'm getting adjusted, and I want to do whatever I can to contribute to this team."
The 20-year-old Power, son of Mark and Miriam Power, was a Dandy Dozen Player in Mississippi as selected by the Clarion Ledger his senior year in high school. Power also earned letters in football, golf, and basketball. He hit .420 as a senior with seven home runs and 40 RBI.
Power, with two home runs, a double, and eight RBI this spring, says playing more as this season has moved on has helped his game at Ole Miss.
"At first I just got an at-bat here and there, and that was kinda tough," he said. "But now I feel like I'm adjusting better to everything."
Clearly he is. One of his best games was the Rebs' 11-10 second-game victory at Georgia. Power drew a start in left field, went 3-for-5 and had a lead-off solo home run in the fourth inning that obviously proved big in the one-run win.
Just this week in Tuesday night's 6-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana after veterans Alex Presley and Mark Wright struck out in the fifth inning, Power launched one out of the park. That was after a spectacular first-inning catch of a ball hit his way in the outfield.
Taking advantage of every opportunity to make something happen, Power came in late in Wednesday night's game against the Lions, an 11-4 UM win, and drove in a run with a single that bounced over the third baseman's head in the eighth.
Power said redshirting last year was probably the right thing for him when looking at the total picture.
"I think it was better for me," he said. "We had a bunch of good outfielders last year (Wright and Presley returned this year; Brian Pettway and Miles Franklin were also there last season). I learned a lot from those players. They are unbelievable. Pettway and Miles, I really learned a lot from them."
Power, a 4.0 student, says the Hillcrest guys from his past also helped him get where he is today.
"My ninth grade year I played centerfield and Seth Smith was in right field," Power said. "I learned a bunch from him. And there were a lot of other guys there who we looked up to."
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Power continues to step up and improve, which is good for the Rebels' future and even present.
"Logan has really had some big moments for us," Bianco said. "Some big hits and some big catches. He's done a terrific job and been one of those guys that's been patient. He redshirted last year and this past fall with high expectations of playing this year tears his hamstring and misses the entire fall. But he fights back and here he is today really contributing this season."
Bianco said it appears things began to turn late last month for Power.
"It seemed like you could really see him swinging better about the time we went to Georgia," Bianco said. "Some quality at-bats. Some good swings. He's got a short, compact stroke, and it seems he doesn't get fooled that much. He's getting the barrel on the ball and hitting a lot of balls hard."
UM assistant coach Stuart Lake says Power is showing now what the coaches have known all along.
"We knew last year he was a good hitter," Lake said. "He just had that hamstring injury that hindered him. Outfield-wise he's really established himself. It's exciting to see a guy come along this time of year that's playing with so much confidence."
Lake says Power brings a solid approach to the plate.
"He really repeats his swing well, and he does that in BP," Lake said. "In extra BP work he seems to put the ball on the barrel with most of his swings. He really has a lot of talent."
Power says it's as much about wanting to succeed as anything else.
"I take a lot of pride in my defense as well as my hitting," he said. "They put me in late sometimes for defensive purposes. I really think I just have average power as a hitter. Coach Lake has taught me a lot, working with me in the cage and helping me to slow everything down."
One thing that hasn't slowed down is the Hillcrest train to Oxford – Glen Morris, Dustin Cliburn, Bradley Lum, Seth Smith, Stephen Head, Cody Satterwhite.
Logan Power is certainly one that is full speed ahead as his Ole Miss baseball career continues to shift into high gear.
"I just try my hardest every chance I get," Power said. "I just want to contribute however I can. Hopefully my career is on track."
Logan Power takes advantage of opportunities
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