LOGAN — Twelve years of frustration ended for the Logan High School baseball team on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 4 in the state in Class AA, punched its ticket to next week’s state tournament at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park by downing Point Pleasant, 10-0, in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the Class AA Region 4 series at Logan’s Roger Gertz Field.
The Wildcats (25-6) ended up winning via 10-run mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth with Konner Lowe’s walk-off, two-run single.
Logan, which enjoyed much success in the 2000s decade, winning state championships in 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2008 and also being state runner-ups in 2002, have not made it to the state tournament since 2009.
All that disappointment over the last decade plus ended with Wednesday’s win over the Big Blacks, which saw their season come to a close at 21-10.
Logan had to rally from a 1-0 hole in the regional series.
The Wildcats forced the decisive game after going to Point Pleasant on Tuesday night and winning 7-3. Logan had opened the series in disappointing fashion with Monday’s 5-4 nail-biting loss to the Big Blacks in Game 1 at Logan.
After Lowe’s game-ending hit, Logan players stormed the field and fireworks went off on the adjacent T-ball field, giving the win a perfect backdrop for the Wildcats.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been in the state tournament,” Gertz said. “I was jacked up for this game. I love their (Point Pleasant’s) team. Coach Andrew Blain is a heck of a guy. He’s a class act and has a class act team. It was a great series.”
Jarron Glick pitched the complete game shutout win for the Wildcats. He was sharp, firing six innings and allowed just three hits while striking out six batters, walking one intentionally and hitting one batter.
“We had a great feeling that we had an ace in the hole in Jarron Glick,” Gertz said. “He’s a good as anybody we have and he proved that tonight. We knew that our pitching was deeper than theirs.”
Logan led Point Pleasant just 2-0 through four innings and the game was still in doubt.
The Wildcats then broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth, pushing five runs across and sending 10 batters to the plate against four different Point pitchers as Logan’s lead swelled to 7-0.
The big blow during the inning was Dawson Maynard’s two-run triple, which rolled to the left field fence. The throw to third was wild and bounced into the Logan dugout, allowing Maynard to score on the free base. When the dust cleared it was 5-0 Logan.
“Maynard hit two bombs today,” Gertz said. “He had a triple and a double. We had a lot of timely hitting. When we relaxed we played like we are capable of playing. We put the pressure on them and scored a lot of runs.”
The Wildcats then added two more runs in the frame on an RBI single by Garrett Williamson and Williamson later coming home on a wild pitch.
Tanner Bush was the starting and losing pitcher for Point Pleasant. He lasted four full innings and gave up four runs on five hits with five strikeouts, four walks and one hit batter. He was lifted in Point’s disastrous fifth inning in which relief pitchers Isaac Craddock, Luke Pinkerton and Tanner Mitchell all came in to pitch during the frame.
Logan took a 2-0 lead on the Big Blacks with catcher Jake Ramey’s two-run single.
Up 7-0, Logan then plated the three runs in the sixth to invoke the 10-run mercy rule. Ramey, who went 3-for-4 in the game with a double and three RBIs, also drove in a run during the inning.
Logan pounded out 12 hits in the win.
Maynard was 2-for-3 with a double, triple and two RBIs. Tyler Fenwick was 2-for-3 with a double and Lowe went 2-for-2 with two runs knocked in.
Williamson, Aiden Slack and Carson Kirk added hits for Logan.
Kyelar Morrow, Bush and Hunter Lilly all singled for Point Pleasant’s only hits of the game.
Logan is set to open play in the Class AA state tournament on Friday, June 25 at 10 am or 12:30 pm against an undetermined foe.
Making it to state will be special for Gertz, the Gertz family and his dad Roger Gertz, the former longtime Logan skipper and currently one of his assistant coaches.
Kevin Gertz, in his fourth year as the Logan mentor, indicated after the game that this could be the final year of coaching the Logan baseball team for the both of them.
Gertz, a former Logan player, has been with the program for 35 years in some fashion and was his dad’s longtime assistant coach. He’s also the current Logan High School girls’ basketball coach.
Roger Gertz coached Logan to five state championships in his long tenure, also leading Logan to a Class AAA crown in 1994 and being an assistant coach on Logan’s 1984 state title winning team. He came back to coach as an assistant after Kevin Gertz was named as his successor.
“Today was very important to me because I don’t know how long dad and I are going to stay,” Gertz said. “I rode his coattails for many years with a lot of state championship teams and a lot of state tournaments. We both are undecided at this point. It’s different things. The health is not great for both of us. We do a lot — a whole lot — and it’s tough. Right now, all I want to do is get these kids rested up and go scout tomorrow.”
Kevin Gertz said his team will be celebrating on Thursday night.
“We’re having a swimming party tomorrow night and they are cooking these kids a big dinner. (Assistant coach) Lou (Green) can cook all night long,” he joked. “I won’t be there and neither will dad. We’re going to watch Bluefield and Independence play.”
Just then after making that statement, Gertz, with his back turned, had the ice water bucket poured all over him by his players.
Gertz then soon had a playful change of heart about the party.
“Now we’re having a 7 o’clock practice,” Gertz joked.
Logan has a home tune-up game on Saturday against Bridgeport. The Wildcats might also play Charleston Catholic, Gertz said, before next Friday’s state tourney opener.