The Logan High School baseball team is learning how to deal without its best player, and, as far as coach Roger Gertz is concerned, that’s better than the alternative.
Zach Minnick, who plays pitcher, catcher and shortstop, suffered a slight tear of his left hamstring and is expected to be out until at least Wednesday when the Wildcats host Ripley.
“It’s hard to say,” Gertz said. “He has a slight tear. Dr. (Cliff) Hill, who takes care of all our athletic injuries, said it’s not a bad tear, but it still had some swelling (Friday morning).
“He’s going to take a look at it (Monday) and said it’ll probably be Wednesday before he would feel comfortable about (Zach) doing anything.”
Logan — tied for ninth in Class AAA in the Daily Mail baseball poll — lost its left fielder, Josh Rein, to a hamstring injury last season.
“It’s freakish things that happen,” he added. “I told (Zach), ‘You need to stretch a lot,’ and he said, ‘Coach, I’m flexible. I’m as flexible as any cheerleader.’”
Minnick came back from Logan’s trip to the Mingo Bay Classic in Myrtle Beach with a .490 batting average and 23 RBI.
Gertz said he would rather the injury happen now so that Minnick can be healthy for sectionals, which begin May 12.
Senior third baseman and No. 1 pitcher Troy Burgess said it’s important the team plays well in Minnick’s absence.
“With or without Z, it’s important we play well,” Burgess said. “We need him back in the lineup as soon as possible, but I think we can hold our own for now.”
Burgess had a run-scoring double against George Washington and junior shortstop Chase Preston had three hits, three stolen bases and an RBI in the victory.
“He has a huge bat, but even on defense, when he’s behind the plate, he’s tough to run on,” said Preston, the team’s leadoff hitter. “He helps out a lot in all aspects, so we all have to pick it up.”
n n n
HURRICANE FINISHED the 2013 campaign with just five losses in 30 games, but already have four defeats halfway through this season.
The No. 1 Class AAA team in the Daily Mail baseball poll, lost consecutive games in which they were favored — 6-4 to Bridgeport and 4-1 to Morgantown in Huntington’s Wooden Bat tournament, and 5-4 to Parkersburg at Lola Meeks Memorial Field.
“We just didn’t play well,” said Hurricane coach Brian Sutphin, whose team didn’t lose consecutive games last season. “We have everything to prove. We know we’re doubted. We know we have to earn things. Some days we look like we’re getting somewhere and days it’s obvious we still have a ways to go.”
The bats have since come alive when Hurricane scored 11 runs in back-to-back victories over Spring Valley and Class AA power Chapmanville, St. Albans and Winfield.
Junior J.T. Rogoszewski gave up five earned runs, including a home run, in 5.1 innings in a 5-4 loss to Parkersburg. In 48.1 innings last season, Rogoszewski didn’t give up a home run, but has surrendered three already this year in 20.1 innings.
However, since that loss to Parkersburg, the Redskins have won four straight by a combined score of 44-10. Junior catcher Tate Brock, was hitless in three consecutive games and had a .261 average, had a double and homer against Winfield in the finals of the Ed Carter Memorial tournament, boosting his average to .280. It was just his third multi-hit game of the season and first since April 9.
n n n
DON’T LOOK now, but here comes Capital.
The Cougars have won six of their last nine games, including Saturday’s 8-5 win over Cabell Midland — Capital’s first win ever against the Knights.
“We’re getting there,” Massey said. “We’re starting to beat some of the better teams and we’re in games.”
And the close games. Since 2012, Capital has lost 23 games by one run, including 12 in its opponents’ final at bat.
The recent surge has been spearheaded by utility player Anthony Gavin. Gavin is batting .344, but, on April 16, he was hitting .294. Gavin has 10 hits in his last 25 at bats (.400) with three home runs and eight RBI. Trenton Campbell improved his batting average by 30 points since April 15, and Seth Roadcap has been steady, hitting above .380 since April 12.
“Things are a little different,” he said. “We’re starting to hit with runners in scoring position. We’re not Hurricane, Jefferson, a Nitro or a Cabell Midland. We’re Capital. We do things a little different.”
One thing they’re doing similarly is winning.
n n n
HURRICANE’S AUSTIN Hensley is walking on to the WVU football team, hoping to earn a spot and eventually play.
His first love is football, but realizes he has baseball to fall back on.
“Me and my parents sat down and talked about it,” Hensley said. “It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up. In West Virginia every kid thinks about playing Mountaineer football or Marshall and I have the chance and I’m going to run with it.”
For Sutphin’s baseball team, Hensley has a 4-1 record with 24 strikeouts and 11 walks and a 2.71 earned run average in 31 innings.
“I talked to (WVU baseball coach Randy) Mazey a little bit,” Hensley said. “They want me to increase my velocity. That’s something I can work on, and build my arm up. I’m about 84-85 consistently topped out at 87. If I build my strength up, the sky’s the limit.”
n n n
WINFIELD BASEBALL coach Will Isaacs pulled his name from the list of those seeking to replace Pat McGinnis as the boys basketball coach.
In Putnam County, coaches aren’t permitted to coach sports that overlap — which basketball would do with baseball.
Isaacs also said he loves coaching baseball and the opportunity to work with his son, Josh (a Winfield assistant).
One of McGinnis’ assistant coaches last season, Bryan England, is among the leading candidates to take over the position sources told the Daily Mail.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail