By Jerry Del Priore
West Islip’s Logan O’Hoppe was all smiles Wednesday night at the New York-Penn League (NYPL) All-Star Game in Richmond County Ballpark at St. George in Staten Island — home of the Staten Island Yankees.
Who could blame O’Hoppe — a second-year professional with the Class Single-A, short-season Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies) — who was on the Blue Team’s roster as a backup catcher in his first professional All-Star Game?
The 19-year-old right-handed hitter said he had over 100 tickets request from friends, family and former teachers for the tilt.
“It feels great, it’s awesome,” O’Hoppe said of making the All-Star squad. “It’s a dream come true, especially to have a lot of people here that have supported me for a while. So, it’s good to have them here and see what they’ve been seeing online and what I’ve been talking about.”
O’Hoppe’s pro career and All-Star selection are a cumulation of pure diligence and hard work, according to his mother, Angela O’Hoppe.
Angela said O’Hoppe sacrificed a measure of his social life as a teen in order to improve his game. He spent an insane amount of time practicing hitting off a tee and throwing a baseball against a wall in his backyard on countless Friday nights, with a light he hung above him in order to see what he was doing.
Moreover, the whole special night didn’t get lost on Angela, who said she used to take her son to games at Richmond County Bank when he was a child.
“It’s an absolute dream come true,” Angela said. “I’ve taken him to this field to watch games before. So, to see him actually on the field is pretty surreal for us. But it’s also the little boy who told everyone he was going to be a professional baseball player, so it’s kind of not hard to believe it in a way. But it’s still surreal as well.”
The Phillies drafted the six-foot-inch, 185-pounder in the 23rd round of 2018 MLB Amateur Draft out of St. John the Baptist High School, in West Islip, Long Island.
O’Hoppe enjoyed a tremendous first pro year with the Gulf Coast Phillies West in Rookie Level ball, hitting .367 with two home runs and 21 RBI while slashing .411/.532/.943 in 109 at-bats in 34 affairs.
While O’Hoppe hasn’t duplicated his numbers from last year thus far, hitting .217 with five long balls and 26 RBI in 161 at-bats in 44 contests going into Wednesday night’s All-Star Game, he’s taking it all in stride. He said he’s learning as much as he can from his manager, former major leaguer Pat Borders, a catcher just like himself.
“I feel like the whole season has been a learning process, so just developing with our manager and everything like that has been really great,” he said. “I try to take pride in everything I do. I feel like because our manager is Pat Borders, and he was a catcher, I’m learning a lot in that aspect. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and take in as much as I can.”
Note: O’Hoppe entered the contest in the bottom of the ninth to catch for reliever Cameron Junker (West Virginia, Pittsburg Pirates), who slammed the door shut on the Red Team in the Blue Team’s 7-3 victory in the All-Star Game.