The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

March 26, 2014

After injured 2013, Colgan is contributing

ENID, Okla. — The best stat for Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s Russ Colgan is that he’s been able to play in all 19 games for the 11-8 Jets, who travel to Connors State, ranked No. 1 in NJCAA Division I, for a 6:30 game tonight.

Colgan redshirted his first season with the Jets. Last season, he hit .368 with one home run and 13 RBI, but was plagued with various hamstring and leg injuries.

“Last year was always a struggle,’’ he said. “I feel  fortunate to stay as healthy as long as I have. I’ve been wearing two straps on my legs and that’s been keeping me healthy so far.’’

Colgan will take a .297 batting average into the Connors game with three home runs and 14 RBI. He has a team-high five doubles, including an RBI two-bagger which proved to be the winning run in a 5-2 win over Pratt, Kan., Tuesday.

“It’s not what I was hitting last spring,’’ Colgan said, “but I’m getting a lot more at-bats. I’ve been trying to square the ball up. Wherever it goes, it’s not in my control. Wherever it lands, it lands.’’

Colgan doesn’t see himself as a power hitter, even though he has nine extra base hits and has a slugging percentage of around .570.

“One of my old teammates said home runs are accidents,’’ Colgan said. “I’m just trying to square up. If it goes out, it goes out.’’

Colgan sees himself as a “lot smarter’’ hitter this season. He has struck out only four times this season. He likes being the No. 2 hole hitter behind lead-off hitter Jared Thompson (.364) and before No. 3 and No. 4 hole hitters Korbin Polston and Jerame Littell.

“I like being in front of the lineup because I know I can put the ball in play somewhere and help out the team,’’ he said. “If Jared walks, I know I will get a first-pitch fastball and I’ll swing at it and get it. I’m a  more mature hitter. I’m seeing the ball a lot better.’’

Colgan, a Hurst, Texas native, had never heard of NOC Enid until Jets pitching coach Scott Mansfield coached his summer team after his senior year in high school.

Colgan had only one offer, so he jumped at the chance to play for Mansfield and the Jets even if he had to walk on.

“It was the best option for me,’’ he said. “I was comfortable with Coach Mansfield and I knew he would give me a chance.’’

Colgan redshirted that season since the Jets had three proven sophomores in the outfield.

“I was homesick and not getting to play took a toll on my mind,’’ Colgan said. “It got in my head a little bit, but after that, I looked on the positive. I’m grateful for that extra year now.’’

Colgan, who received a scholarship after his first year, never seriously considered leaving NOC Enid after his second season, mainly because of the injuries.

“Even if I wanted to, I knew I wouldn’t get any type of looks because of the injuries,’’ Colgan said. “It was totally worth it.’’

And he felt this could be the Jets’ season with a sophomore-dominated team. He wanted to redeem himself after the team went 17-39.

“I’m ready to win a championship,’’ he said. “This is the team that can do it. We have a lot better team. I knew we would have a great team.’’�

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