It’s back to familiar territory for the Logan High School baseball team.
The Wildcats are once again sectional champions and are headed to the Class AAA Region 4 semifinals where Logan is scheduled to play at Winfield on Monday night.
Logan secured the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 championship with Thursday night’s 4-2 win at St. Albans in a decisive final game with the Red Dragons at Loftis Field.
St. Albans (21-11), tied with Logan (20-9) for the 10th spot in this week’s state baseball poll, had forced the winner-take-all game with last Saturday’s 5-2 victory at Logan.
The Wildcats then turned the tables on the Red Dragons and won its 13th sectional title in the last 14 years.
Logan’s string of 12 straight section crowns was halted last year by South Charleston and the Wildcats had a goal this year of regaining the title.
The Cats knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task as Logan jumped to a new sectional with the Red Dragons and perennial state powerhouse Nitro, last year’s Class AAA state runner-up.
Logan, however, took out Nitro in the sectional and then ended up taking down St. Albans to advance to the regional tournament, something the Wildcats have done with regularity over the last decade plus.
Wildcats’ coach Roger Gertz said he was impressed with his team’s play in capturing the title.
“We played good baseball,” Gertz said. “We played in a different section and it was the first time that we’ve played in it. We had two good baseball teams with us. We’re tickled to death to come out of here with the sectional title.”
Sophomore Z. Minnick was key to the victory as he hit a towering two-run homer in the top of the third which put Logan up for good 2-1. Minnick, who is hitting better than .500 this season, drew a lot of respect from St. Albans pitching as he was intentionally walked three times.
Minnick, however, made St. Albans pay in the third inning as he drilled a homer beyond the 25-foot tall fence in left center.
“They walked him three times but on the other at bat, boy, he blasted it,” Gertz said. “I don’t know how deep it was but it was a bomb beyond their 25-foot fence in left center.”
Minnick then came in to pitch in relief of starter Johnny Morrison as he fired 3.2 innings of scoreless and hitless ball. He struck out one and walked none. Morrison was credited with the win as he fired 3.1 innings and gave up two runs and two hits with one strikeout and four walks.
“Johnny pitched real well but in the fifth inning he loaded the bases and we had to take him out,” Gertz said.
Dustin Turley was the starter and loser on the hill for the Red Dragons. He went four innings and yielded four runs and five hits with one strikeout, five walks and one hit batter. Joey Doddril pitched the last three innings in relief.
Logan outhit St. Albans 6-2. Six different Wildcats had one hit each in the game.
“We had several big hits,” Gertz said. “Benji Adkins had a big hit to drive in a run. Chase Preston also drove in a run.”
St. Albans led 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning as Phoenix Shrewsberry doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Turley.
Minnick’s two-run homer in the third made it 2-1 Logan. The Cats added another run as Troy Burgess singled and later scored on an RBI single to center by right fielder Benji Adkins.
The Wildcats made it 4-1 in the fourth as Kyle Harvey singled and scored all the way from first base on Chase Preston’s RBI double.
The Red Dragons loaded the bases on Morrison in the bottom of the fourth with a walk, a single and another walk.
Gertz called on his bullpen and Minnick.
St. Albans was able to score to make it 4-2 as Taylor Brayley had an RBI ground out to the mound.
Minnick then put out the fire as he fanned Lucas Carfagna to end the inning.
Minnick, a right-hander, then got out St. Albans in order in the fifth and sixth innings and then finished off the Red Dragons in the seventh to put the win and the sectional title on ice.
Logan now shifts focus to Monday night’s regional semifinal game at Winfield. The Wildcats handled the Generals twice this season by 10-1 and 11-2 scores.
If Logan beats Winfield, the Cats would host either Cabell Midland or Hurricane next Wednesday night at Roger Gertz Field in the Class AAA regional championship game for the right to play in the upcoming state tournament at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park, set for May 30-June 1.
“They have a good baseball program,” Gertz said of Winfield. “They have been for years. We’re going to have to play well in order to win that one.”
The up-and-down Generals come into the game with a 14-16 record. Winfield swept Point Pleasant 3-2 and 2-0 to win the sectional title.
Cabell Midland (16-10) is set to play at Hurricane (25-4) in Monday night’s other Region 4 semifinal.
Logan High School
2013 Baseball Schedule (20-9)
March 22: at Scott, W 11-0
March 23: St. Albans, W 4-0
March 28: at Hurricane, L 0-2
March 29: Ripley, W 12-2
April 2: vs. Kenmore East (N.Y.) at Mingo Bay Classic at Myrtle Beach, S.C., W 12-2
April 3: vs. T.L. Hannah (S.C) at Mingo Bay Classic at Myrtle Beach, S.C., L 4-10
April 5: vs. Bishop Grimes (N.Y.) at Mingo Bay Classic at Myrtle Beach, S.C., L 1-3
April 6: vs. Roy Hart (N.Y.) at Mingo Bay Classic at Myrtle Beach, S.C., W 14-3
April 9: at Nitro, W 4-3
April 10: at Man, W 15-1
April 12: at Ripley, W 14-3
April 13: Winfield, W 10-1
April 15: Cabell Midland, L 2-7
April 18: Lincoln County, W 5-2
April 20: vs. Bridgeport at George Washington, W 6-1
April 20: vs. Charleston Catholic at George Washington, W 5-3
April 22: Nitro, W 11-1
April 23: Scott, L 2-9
April 24: at St. Albans, W 4-1
April 25: at Belfry (Ky.), L 0-6
April 26: Hurricane, L 1-9
April 27: at Winfield, W 11-2
April 30: Man, W 10-2
May 1: Belfry (Ky.), W 5-1
May 2: George Washington, L 4-5
May 9: at St. Albans (sectionals), W 10-0
May 10: Nitro (sectionals), W 5-2
May 11: St. Albans (sectionals), L 2-5
May 16: at St. Albans (sectionals), W 4-2
May 20: at Winfield (regionals), 6:30 p.m.