LOGAN — Twelve years of frustration ended for the Logan High School baseball team on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats punched their 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 the 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 decade of the 2000s, winning state championships in 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2008 and also being state runner-up in 2002, had not made it back to the state tournament since 2009.
All that disappointment over the last decade-plus ended with Wednesday’s win over the Black Knights, who saw their season come to a close at 21-10.
Logan had to rally from a 1-0 series hole after losing the first game of the regional 5-4 Monday at Logan. The Wildcats forced the decisive game after going to Point Pleasant Tuesday night and winning 7-3.
Logan players stormed the field after Lowe’s game-ending hit and fireworks went off on the adjacent tee-ball field, giving the win a perfect backdrop for the Wildcats.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been in the state tournament,” said Logan coach Kevin Gertz. “I was jacked up for this game. I love [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 shutout win for the Wildcats. He was sharp, firing six innings and allowing just three hits while striking out six, 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 it 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 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.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the frame on an RBI single by Garrett Williamson, who later scored on a wild pitch.
Tanner Bush was the starting and losing pitcher for Point Pleasant. He lasted four 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.
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 with a double and three RBIs, also drove in a run during the inning. Logan finished with 12 hits.
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 RBIs.
Kyelar Morrow, Bush and Hunter Lilly had Point Pleasant’s only hits.
Logan is set to open play in the Class AA state tournament on Friday, June 25.
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 both father and son.
Kevin 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.”
Logan has a home tune-up game Saturday against Bridgeport. The Wildcats might also play Charleston Catholic, Gertz said, before next Friday’s state tourney opener.