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Chief Product Logan Demkovich has 16 Homers and Counting this Year at Franklin College

Story By: Brian Waddle (nwitimes.com)

There are late bloomers. Then there’s guys like Logan Demkovich.

The Munster product and Franklin College slugger never hit a homer in high school. None, nada, zilch.

He said he had little to no offers to play in college.

Let’s just say his patience and dedication have paid off.

Demkovich is currently second in the nation at the NCAA Division-III level with 16 home runs this spring. He’s fifth in the country in RBIs (46) and sixth in slugging percentage (.935).

Late bloomer, right?

“I was a smaller guy, more doubles and stuff in high school,” said Demkovich, who played for the late Bob Shinkan at Munster and with Dave Sutkowski’s Hammond Chiefs program.

“Once I got to college I started to get into the physical aspect of the game and started working out and getting stronger. That made me more explosive at the plate and that’s when I started to see the doubles turn into home runs.”

Demkovich just caught up to another former Region slugger, Andrean’s Frank Podkul, who had Franklin’s single-season home run record with 16 set in 2018.

Demkovich tied the record on Saturday – clubbing a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings – in a sweep of Manchester.

“When I was a freshman (in 2018) that’s when (Podkul) set the record and the team was so good, they set pretty much every record that year,” Demkovich said. “It was great for me to come in and see that success as a freshman; it was great for everybody. (Podkul) was a senior that year and just an amazing player. He did a lot of great things.”

Franklin set the school record that season with 39 wins and advanced to the NCAA Central Regional. That squad only lost five games and won the HCAC title with a 17-1 mark.

Demkovich, a catcher, said he was far from a star in high school, even splitting time at catcher and third base his senior year. He wanted to play in college badly and really liked the personality and style of Franklin coach Lance Marshall, who has been running the Grizzlies for 25 seasons.

“I didn’t have any offers, but Franklin gave me a shot and Coach Marshall gave me a good feeling,” said Demkovich, a 2017 Munster grad. “He just lets you play your game, he lets players be themselves, and that’s what really attracted me to Franklin.”

Demkovich is the team’s main catcher and is also being leaned on by Marshall to be a leader. The Grizzlies are off to a surprising 22-6 record with only nine seniors among the 44-man roster.

“When I knew I’d have a (fifth) year of eligibility, it was a no-brainer,” said Demkovich, who is hitting .398 with 10 doubles and 39 runs. “With a young team it was a big thing for me to step into the leadership role. They respect me, I respect them, and it’s been like a brotherhood.

“Sure, I’m older and I get the grandpa stuff every once in a while, but I love it. I embrace it.”

Demkovich is just one homer from breaking Podkul’s single-season record, but says that’s not something he thinks about. He just goes up to the plate wanting to hit, help the team, and get the W.

He said weight lifting has changed his game and he’s added 30-40 pounds since he arrived on campus.

“I’m still a really skinny kid, but getting stronger has made me much more explosive at the plate,” Demkovich said. “I think I’ve learned to be aggressive early, but also have plate discipline, and don’t let good pitches go.”

In other college baseball news,

• Kankakee’s Kyle Iwinski (Griffith) continues to post big numbers on the mound. The Purdue commit is 5-0 with 56 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. Iwinski, who has two complete games this spring, has a 1.96 ERA for the 30-5 squad.

• Richmond’s Christian Beal (Marian Catholic) had two homers – including his first of the season to lead off the game – in Saturday’s 13-11 loss to VCU.

Beal, who went 3-for-6, is second on the team with a .348 average to go with a team-high 37 runs.

• Indianapolis ace Xavier Rivas (Portage) rang up 10 strikeouts in a victory over Quincy. The sophomore standout has double-digit strikeouts in eight-straight games. His 94 Ks on the season is up to seventh all-time in program history.

• Wabash’s A.J. Reid (Highland) continues to lead the team in multiple categories: average (.394), hits (37), on-base percentage (.508), triples (four), total bases (57), and slugging percentage (.606). He’s also added nine doubles and 27 RBIs.

• Benedictine’s Damen Castillo (Highland) had himself a weekend, going 5-for-7 with five RBIs and a homer in a sweep of Wisconsin-Lutheran.

• UConn’s Austin Peterson (Chesterton) moved to 7-0 on the season after Thursday’s victory over Seton Hall. The senior ace went seven innings, striking out five.

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