The Logan High School baseball team moved up Tuesday’s game with Lincoln County one hour to 6 p.m. to beat back some of the expected cold.
Problem was, the Panthers showed up late and it was 6:45 p.m. until the first pitch was thrown.
And when the sun goes down behind the mountain at Logan’s Roger Gertz Field in early April it’s typically quite chilly.
It was downright cold as temperatures dipped to the high 30s before the night was done but the Logan bats were sizzling hot as the Wildcats pounded out 11 hits and blistered the Panthers 13-0.
Logan improved to 2-5 on the season and got a much-needed win.
In atypical fashion, the Cats were coming off a winless week in the Mingo Bay Classic at Myrtle Beach, S.C., as Logan lost games to teams from Illinois, North Carolina and South Carolina during its annual spring break trip before coming back north.
Tuesday’s win, however, was much needed.
“It was very much needed,” Logan coach Roger Gertz said. “We’ve been in most every game but for some reason we’re not playing very good defense right now. Hopefully we can shore that up because the hitting’s going to come. We’ve had good pitching. I think as time goes on we’ll have a chance at being pretty decent.”
The Wildcats plated two runs in the first, two in the second, five in the third and four more in the fourth.
Logan relief pitcher Shawn Blevins then sat down the Panthers in the top of the fifth inning to end the game early due to the 10-run mercy rule. Chase Burnette pitched a masterful game and notched the win. The senior right-hander went four innings and allowed just one hit while striking out five and issuing no walks.
“Chase Burnette pitched a heck of a game,” Coach Gertz said. “He’s pitched two real good games that he got losses in. Over at GW he pitched outstanding there. He also threw a good game down at Myrtle Beach. Jared Shawver has also pitched well for us. I think Will Akers will give us some good innings as time goes on. If we could get TJ Mullins throwing some kind of breaking ball he will really help us. Matthew Brown has struggled some but he came in at Man and pitched well. But Riverside hit him pretty hard.”
The Wildcats’ top three batters — Ryan Holstein, Alex Toler and Will Akers — led the way. Holstein, Logan’s leadoff second baseman, was 2-for-2 and scored three runs. Toler, the first baseman, was 2-for-2 with a three-run triple and four RBI. Third batter Akers, Logan’s centerfielder, went 2-for-3 with one RBI.
“That’s a good sign. Holstein has hit the ball hard all year long,” Gertz said. “He hit well down at Myrtle Beach. He’s not a big kid but he’s strong and he hits it on the nose. We started him out at seven in the batting order but he got some hits and we decided to put him at leadoff. It paid off tonight. Toler is a better number two hitter. We had him in the three spot for a game or two but I don’t think he feels comfortable with that so we put Will there tonight and he came through with a couple of big hits. Topping also hit the ball hard for us.”
The Wildcats wasted no time in the bottom of the first.
Holstein led off with a single, stole second and then advance to third as LC catcher Cody Elkins air-mailed an overthrow into the outfield. Holstein then scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-0.
Logan later made it 2-0 with catcher Tyler Topping’s bases loaded RBI fielder’s choice grounder.
Then in the second, the Wildcats plated two more runs off Panthers’ starter Cody Roach. Holstein singled and scored on left-handed hitting Toler’s opposite field single to left field. Akers then ripped an RBI single to center to give the Cats a 4-0 lead.
In the third, Logan batted around and made it 9-0 with a five-spot. The big blow was Toler’s bases loaded, three-run triple to up the lead to 8-0. Third baseman Matthew Brown also had an RBI single during the frame. Burnette’s RBI single accounted for the ninth run. TJ Mullins had a double during the frame.
In the bottom of the fourth, Logan plated four more runs and batted around again.
Pinch-hitter Tommy Adkins got it started with a bases loaded RBI single to up the lead to 10-0.
Brown later scored on a wild pitch after reaching via fielder’s choice as Logan led 11-0.
Left fielder Tyler Browning walked and later came around on a wild pitch to make it 12-0.
Blevins then drove in the 13th run with an RBI fielder’s choice.
Lincoln County’s lone hit was a two-out single to center by Isaac Brogan in the top of the second inning.
Logan returned to action with Wednesday night’s home game against Cabell Midland. The Wildcats won 4-2 as left-hander Jared Shawver picked up the win on the mound.
Logan heads to Hurricane on Friday for a 7 p.m. game.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).