Gunter’s Vogel signs with Odessa College

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Gunter center fielder Garrett Vogel signs his letter of intent to play for Odessa College after helping the Tigers reach the state tournament for the first time since 2001.

GUNTER — The attention never went beyond the end of the final season for Garrett Vogel. His future couldn’t cross his mind because every week there was another set of games to play, all the way into June and to the state baseball tournament.

“I was really, really focused and devoted to winning the games. I was worried about getting to the next round. And we kept on winning,” he said.

In the weeks that followed the program’s top finish in 20 years, Gunter’s three-year starter in center field made a decision on where he would continue to take his left-handed swings as Vogel signed his letter of intent to play for Odessa College.

He chose the junior college program over Hardin-Simmons University and Western Texas College.

“I had a list of four or five schools, four-year schools and JUCOs, that I was thinking about,” Vogel said. “I went to visit Odessa and the campus was beautiful. The coaches were very welcoming. I feel like it’s the best place to be to move ahead in my baseball career.”

He had a .331 average with five doubles, three triples, a pair of homers, 31 RBI, 45 runs, 24 walks and 27 stolen bases out of the leadoff spot.

Vogel was selected as the District 11-3A Offensive Most Valuable Player and chosen for the North Texas Baseball Coaches Class 1A-4A All-Star Game.

Vogel helped the Tigers to their best season in two decades as Gunter finished 36-9 and reached the state tournament for the first time since 2001. The Tigers lost, 4-3, on a walk-off single to eventual champion Malakoff in the Class 3A semifinals.

“I think it was a statement about how good we were,” Vogel said. “It’s awesome to be able to leave a legacy here. It’s that much more rewarding.”

Gunter swept Atlanta in the region final, a round it hadn’t reached since 2004, to advance to state. Vogel’s work at the top of the order set the tone in the latter stages of the bracket. He also had the lone run in Gunter’s victory to open a quarterfinal series against Maypearl, scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Last year’s opportunity to make another deep playoff run was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the season right as district play was about to begin. That Tigers roster was heavy on seniors and Vogel was one of the few on this year’s squad with varsity experience.

He was named the district Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore when Gunter lost in the region semifinals and was expecting big things with so many players set to return in 2020. When that didn’t happen because of circumstances out of his control, Vogel made sure to embrace every moment of his senior season — one that wasn't guaranteed when school started in August.

“I was thinking at the beginning of the year, COVID might not let us play,” Vogel said. “I was pretty grateful to be able to play because 10 of my friends didn’t that chance last year.”

Odessa College went 23-26 this past season but won the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Tournament and was the Region V Tournament runner-up.

The Wranglers were 21-2 last spring when their season was stopped due to COVID-19.

Odessa College has made the Region V Tournament each of the past four times it was held.

Former Van Alstyne pitcher Chandler David was an all-conference selection this year and signed with Incarnate Word.