January has been a hard month weather-wise in Logan County with lots of snow, school cancelations and bone-chilling cold temperatures around zero and even below.
There’s been talk about the arctic vortex, flash freezing and other never before heard of terms to the normal layman.
But the high school baseball season is just around the corner.
Believe it or not, it’s less than two months away until the 2014 season, only if the winter will break and the snow will melt.
Spring will soon be here and it can’t get here soon enough — not only to baseball fans but for those in general who are sick of winter.
Logan High School just released its ‘14 baseball schedule and the Wildcats are scheduled to open the season on March 22 in Louisa, Ky., against a new opponent on their schedule, the Lawrence County (Ky.) Bulldogs.
Logan, 20-10 last year, is slated to have a two-game set against Lawrence County, also hosting the Kentucky team on May 5.
The Bulldogs, coached by Travis Feltner, have 10 games scheduled ahead of the Logan game.
Lawrence County has a strong tradition in baseball. The Bulldogs were 24-14 last season, falling 3-2 to Prestonsburg (Ky.) in the 15th Region Tournament. Lawrence County was 20-23 in 2012 and 28-5 in 2011 where the Bulldogs lost 13-3 to Newport Central Catholic (Ky.) in the Kentucky’s 16-team all-class state tournament.
The Wildcats, coached by veteran mentor Roger Gertz, regained the Class AAA sectional championship last season by downing St. Albans, 4-2, on the road. It was Logan’s first section crown in two years after a one-year hiatus. The Wildcats had won sectional titles 12 straight years from 2000-11 before losing in the 2012 section finals.
Logan beat St. Albans 10-0 in last year’s sectional opener on the road, before winning 5-2 at home over Nitro and falling 5-2 at home to St. Albans. Logan then went on the road and defeated the Red Dragons in the winner-take-all final.
The Wildcats play many of the same teams as last year, with games against Ripley, Cabell Midland, Lincoln County, Point Pleasant, Huntington, St. Albans, George Washington and Hurricane.
Also on the schedule are home-and-home series against Class A county rival Man and Class AA Scott. Another Kentucky team, Belfry, is also on the slate.
The highlight of the season is Logan’s Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the Mingo Bay Classic, April 14-18. Logan went 2-2 last year in the annual tourney, defeating a pair of New York teams and losing to a South Carolina team and another squad from New York.
The Logan baseball team is also scheduled to play in the Ed Carter tourney at St. Albans and also in the George Washington tourney.
For the third straight year, Logan is not scheduled to play old county rival Chapmanville during the ‘14 season, although the Tigers are also set to play with Logan in the St. Albans tournament.
The Logan-Chapmanville baseball series was stopped at the end of the 2011 season amid tensions between the two schools which boiled over. The Wildcats and Tigers have also shelved their boys’ basketball series and have not played during the regular season in three years.
The Logan baseball team had won the last six meetings with Chapmanville dating back to 2008, including a 4-1 win over the Tigers in 2011. Chapmanville went on to win the ‘11 Class AA state championship with a 35-3 record. The Wildcats are 29-8 against the Tigers since 1999.
Logan is led by returning junior shortstop/catcher Z. Minnick, who was voted in the off-season as the top junior in the state.
Minnick was a Class AAA first-team all-state selection last season by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. He hit six home runs and drove in 39 runs while hitting a team-best .535. On the mound, the right-hander was 7-2 with a 1.38 ERA with 53 strikeouts and just 11 issued walks on 51 innings of work.
Minnick also led the team last year in doubles with 10, triples with three and total hits with 43. Minnick also had a team-high 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts.
Also back for Logan this season is infielder Chase Preston (.325). Infielder Troy Burgess (.329) also returns along with outfielder Josh Rein (.391), Trace Butcher (.304) and others.
Burgess was 4-1 on the hill last season with a 1.20 ERA.
Logan graduated ace hurler Johnny Morrison, who was 7-3 with a 1.04 ERA.
2014 Logan High School
March 22: at Lawrence County, Ky., 1 p.m.
March 26: at Ripley, 7 p.m.
March 31: Cabell Midland, 7 p.m.
April 1: at Winfield, 7 p.m.
April 3: Lincoln County, 7 p.m.
April 4: Point Pleasant, 7 p.m.
April 7: at Huntington, 7 p.m.
April 8: at Belfry, Ky., 7 p.m.
April 10: St. Albans, 7 p.m.
April 14: Belfry, Ky., 7 p.m.
April 14-18: at Mingo Bay Classic, Myrtle Beach, S.C., TBA
April 21: Scott, 7 p.m.
April 22: Man, 7 p.m.
April 23: at Cabell Midland, 7 p.m.
April 25: at George Washington, 1 p.m.
April 25: at Winfield (at GW), 4 p.m.
April 26: at Ed Carter Tournament, St. Albans, 4 p.m.
April 28: Huntington, 7 p.m.
April 30: Ripley, 7 p.m.
May 1: at Scott, 7 p.m.
May 2: Winfield, 7 p.m.
May 5: Lawrence County, Ky., 6 p.m.
May 7: at Lincoln County, 5 p.m.
May 8: at Man, 7 p.m.
May 9: George Washington, 7 p.m.
May 10: at Point Pleasant, 12 p.m.
May 12: Hurricane, 6:30 p.m.
May 13: at Hurricane, 6 p.m.