PLAYING AT THE NEXT LEVEL: Andalusia’s Hogan Nichols commits to Delta State

Published 12:05 am Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Andalusia Bulldogs’ Hogan Nichols has officially committed to playing baseball next year at Delta State University.

“It’s really special,” Nichols said of his commitment. “This is one goal that I’ve had my whole life and to finally reach it is amazing. It’s really hard to put into words. From the first time I picked up a bat, my dream was to play this game for as long as possible. Now, I made the first step in that direction.”

Nichols said it was a pretty easy decision to go with Delta State.

“Delta State is competitive every year and they are known for their success,” Nichols said. “A lot of college (recruiters) can be like car salesmen. They tell you what you want to hear to get you, and that’s why it’s important when you find someone genuine like Delta State, you hold on to them. The recruiting process really opens your eyes up to the real world.”

He knew he felt at home when he took his visit to the Delta State campus in Cleveland, Miss., Nichols said.

“It’s a really beautiful place,” Nichols said. “It’s in a town that’s a lot like Andalusia. That’s perfect because I am a small town guy. It’s a big campus in a small town and I felt at home.”

Nichols has been the starting catcher for the Bulldogs for three years.

He was key member of last year’s team that won Andalusia’s first-ever baseball state championship.

Before going to compete at the college level, Nichols hopes to close out his high school career with a strong season.

“My No. 1 goal is to win another state championship,” Nichols said. “When the season ends, I will just continue to find ways to improve myself to be successful at the next level.

Nichols said that there have been several people in his life that have helped him get to this point.

“My family has pushed me to be the best that I can be my whole life,” Nichols said. “My dad and Coach (Tyler) Dent have really put a lot of time in with me. At times, I think they saw more in me than I even saw in myself. They never let me settle and pushed me to my limits.”

Andalusia head baseball coach Tyler Dent said that Nichols is a special player and person.

“It’s hard to believe that this group of seniors has been with me for the past five years,” Dent said. “Hogan absolutely loves the game of baseball. I know that sounds cliché, but I have met very few kids that love the game the way that he does. Baseball is the only sport he plays and he dedicates his time on developing his craft. He is very deserving of playing at the next level.”

Dent said that Nichols has been such a key part of the Bulldogs’ success.

“He is such an asset behind the plate,” Dent said. “He is a guy that pitchers love to throw to. He does a great job of commanding the game. As a former pitcher, he is the type of guy that you want behind the plate. He just does a tremendous job.”

Dent said that Nichols has been a clutch player for the Bulldogs.

“I can’t tell you how many times he has pulled us through with big timely hits,” Dent said. “The pressure just doesn’t get to him. I can’t say enough about him. I feel like he is one of my sons and he is just such a great young man. That’s a testament to him and his family. He works to improve himself all the time. He and his dad spend a lot of time hitting in the cage and doing things for him to improve. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

This year, Dent said the Bulldogs will rely heavily on Nichols.

“He is going to have to carry a huge load for us this year,” Dent said. “I have no doubt that he is going to do just that for us. He is the guy you want to come to plate with runners on and the game is on the line. He wants to be the guy that is in that situation. He did it for us many times during our state championship run.”