Red Hawks’ Bender named NJCAA First Team All-American

Red Hawks’ Bender named NJCAA First Team All-American

HICKORY, N.C. — For the eighth-straight year, the Catawba Valley Community College baseball program has an All-American.

Red Hawks sophomore pitcher Logan Bender was named a First Team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) on Tuesday.

"It's a pretty cool award to receive," Bender said. "For our program to do it eight-straight times is special. It's great that I can keep that streak going. Being named an All-American was one of my goals to achieve coming into this year. To cross that off my list is a cool accomplishment, and being selected to the first team list is a really special."

Bender joins a list of CVCC baseball players who have received All-American status that includes left-handed pitcher Julian Smith, outfielders Chandler Jenkins, Ty Andrus and Bryson Bowman, third baseman Danny Sullivan, first baseman Ryan Smith and second baseman Danny Fraga.

"All of that is a mark of a program being successful, but a program's success is dictated by the type of players that are a part of it," said Catawba Valley head baseball coach Paul Rozzelle of the eight-straight All-Americans. "We have been very blessed in our program."

This is the second-straight year that Bender has been named an All-American. He was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper last spring while attending Campbell University.

"Not everyone gets the opportunity to leave their mark on the program," Bender said. "'I'm thankful to have left a positive impact on the program. It's is a very special feeling. I was only here for a year, but I had a good time. Coming from a different school, it took me a bit to get acquainted to, but I enjoyed my time at CVCC. I made some life-long friends and memories were made. Catawba Valley Community College will definitely hold a special place in my heart."

Bender becomes the third First Team All-American baseball player for the Red Hawks, joining Jenkins and Sullivan.

"We are extremely proud of Logan," Rozzelle said. "What he did on the mound was completely dominant. He is very well deserving. A lot of teams missed out on this young man last week during the MLB draft, but I feel like he's going to prove them wrong and do tremendous things next year at N.C. State."

Bender was dominant on the mound in his lone season at Catawba Valley, compiling a perfect 7-0 record while leading all NJCAA DII pitchers in ERA (0.78) and finishing second among them in strikeouts (114).

The highlight of Bender's 2019 sophomore campaign came on May 4 when he struck out a program record 18 batters against Fayetteville Tech.

A Dunn, N.C. native and Triton High School alumnus, Bender finished the 2019 CVCC baseball season by earning Region 10 Pitcher of the Year and All-Region 10 First Team accolades.

Bender has thought a lot about what he accomplished on the diamond for the Red Hawks this past spring.

"After the season ended, I kind of sat back and looked at what I achieved," he said. "I feel like that doesn't happen very often. The cherry on top was the 18 strikeout performance. To actually strike out an opposing hitter 18 times was definitely one for the books."

Bender now embarks on a journey to the Division I level this upcoming school year where he'll attend N.C. State University and and play baseball for the Wolfpack, but he will forever remember his time at CVCC and the friendships made.

"All the memories I have will never go away," Bender said. "To able to come in and leave with a life-long memories and friends — I wouldn't change anything."

Catawba Valley Baseball All-Americans

2018-19: Logan Bender, RHP, First Team
2017-18: Julian Smith, LHP, Third Team
2016-17: Chandler Jenkins, OF, First Team (NJCAA Player of the Year)
2015-16: Ty Andrus, OF, Second Team
2014-15: Danny Sullivan, 3B, First Team
2013-14: Bryson Bowman, OF, Third Team
2012-13: Ryan Smith, INF, Third Team
2011-12: Danny Fraga, INF, Second Team