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Benham signs to Lincoln Trail

April 30, 2008
Crawford County senior Bo Benham looked to further both his education and baseball experience last Friday when he signed a letter-of-intent to play for the Statesmen of Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Ill., next year.

Crawford County senior Bo Benham signs his letter-of-intent last week to attend Lincoln Trail College on a baseball scholarship. The school has had 40 players go on to play at Division 1 schools.
"I never thought this day would come," a smiling Benham said after signing. "I'm pretty excited about it. I was more nervous signing this than I was at batting."

It all came about last summer when Benham was playing with North Harrison in a summer league at Pleasure Ridge Park, Ky. During that time, he was seen by a scout from Colorado.

"A Rockies scout saw me play and he really liked the way I played, and he asked me if I was going to go anywhere," Benham said. "I told him I didn't have anywhere in particular. He suggested that if I wanted to get drafted or get picked that I go to Lincoln Trail. I told him that I hadn't got my learning ethics quite right yet. He told me Lincoln Trail was probably my best option because they're real competitive and they like to win and they've got a good high percentage of draft picks."

Lincoln Trail is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association and the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. The Statesmen were the Region 24 NJCAA champions in 2005 and 2007 and won the GRAC Conference championship in 2006 and 2007. Mitch Hannahs is the coach in his sixth year. The Statesmen have had 40 players go on to play in NCAA Division 1 schools.

"It was pretty important," Benham said. "I've been working hard and like crazy. During the off-season, I've been going and working out to get built up and play baseball. It's just really what I want to do."

Gogel said Lincoln Trail looked at Benham as a complete package. So far this season, Benham is batting .541 with 20 hits in 37 at-bats, seven of those going for extra bases. He has 13 stolen bases and has only struck out four times. He has just two errors in 84 innings.

"The potential, the huge upside of Bo is his arm, his bat. Of course, his athleticism from a catcher's standpoint is very, very unique around here," Gogel said. "I think they really liked that athleticism and the things he can do well, not just one particular area."

Benham said he is looking at one of two majors.

"I'm thinking about business," he said. "That's kind of what I've been wanting to do, or agriculture."

"He's an outstanding young man," Gogel said. "He's had a lot of focus throughout this baseball season, trying to make himself better as a player. You've got to have that mindset. It's easy for somebody to be very complacent. I really think Bo's trying to get better every day of every week."

Gogel had Benham's teammates at the signing in hopes of inspiring some of his younger players to improve their skills.

"I'm trying to bring about to the guys around here that we're a community, a tight-knit group," he said. "We're a bunch of brothers. If the older brother gets signed and has this going on, maybe it might get the younger brothers to do the same thing, at least that's what we hope."

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