By Kevin Posival

Harker Heights Herald

BELTON - Max Hogan wasn't trying to replace anyone.

The Belton second baseman only wanted to exceed the lofty expectations he had for himself and doing what he could to help the Tigers' baseball team live up to its standard of excellence.

"Expectations at Belton are always the same every year, just because we lose guys doesn't mean anything," Hogan said. "I'm the type of guy, with whatever I do, I set my expectations really high. I shoot for them and I try to reach them. I'm almost like a perfectionist in things that I do and I want to do things to the best of my abilities."

Seeing former Belton standouts Dillon Newman, Shane Hoelscher and John Beck sign Division I letters of intent his sophomore year only made Hogan want to raise his expectations to their level.

"I wanted to be doing that in two years. I wanted to be just like them and doing that," Hogan said. "I thought that was a really cool thing to see and it really wanted to make me want to be up there this year doing that."

As a junior, his .467 batting average and .662 on-base percentage led the team and Nov. 17, he officially reached that next level when he signed a national letter of intent to join Newman at Baylor. In Waco, he'll also join another former Belton standout, Nick Wright, who signed with the Bears earlier this year after two seasons at Angelina Junior College.

"I think whenever you have a program like Belton High School, it gets noticed by schools like Baylor," Hogan said. "Fortunately, I have the privilege of playing at Belton and getting the opportunity to have those coaches out there watching me and get a chance like I get right now."

Belton head coach Eddie Cornblum saw Hogan's potential early and got the then-sophomore into games during the Tigers' 2009 season. In 16 at-bats, Hogan held a .375 batting average, which was the third-highest on the team behind Hoelscher (Rice) and Kevin Thornton that season.

"We knew he had the great ability to be something special. The only thing that happened his sophomore year, he came in with that senior class where you had Newman and Hoelscher and (Drew) Delgado and those guys ... and it's a hard lineup to crack," Cornblum said. "You try to put Max in position, or any of those sophomores, that you don't want them to sit, you want them to play."

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