By Paul Adkins
NITRO — For the second time in three years the Logan High School baseball team will not be playing in either the regional or state tournaments.
Logan was ousted 11-1 in five innings on Thursday night in the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 championship game.
The game was stopped after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Logan’s season came to a close at 23-10. Nitro (23-7) advanced to next Tuesday’s Class AAA Region 4 semifinals where NHS is scheduled to host Point Pleasant (17-10). The winner of that game will then travel to play at either Cabell Midland or Hurricane next Thursday, May 29 in the Region 4 championship game for the right to play in the state tournament.
Thursday night’s loss was only the second time Logan has not won the sectional championship since 2000. Logan won 12 straight section titles from 2000-11 but were upset at South Charleston in the 2012 section titles. The Cats then won last year’s sectional over Nitro and St. Albans when Logan was shipped out to a new section.
This time it was Nitro’s turn.
Up 7-1 after four innings, Nitro plated four runs across in the bottom of the fifth off Logan relief pitcher Troy Burgess.
Nitro made it 9-1 with first baseman Dylan Slack’s two-run single. The next batter, starting pitcher Ryan McDonough then ended the game with a walk-off, two-run single to finish off Logan with an 11-1 rout.
Logan was held to only three hits in the game — singles by Chase Preston, Trace Butcher and Josh Rein.
Nitro had seven hits on the night, led by Slack, who was 2-for-4 with three RBI. DH Matt Harrison was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Harrison’s two-run double in the fourth put Nitro up 7-1.
Nitro greeted Logan starting pitcher Z. Minnick with a four-spot in the bottom of the first to take a 4-0 lead. Harrison had an RBI single during the inning. Nitro was also aided in the frame by two Logan errors. Logan committed five errors in the game.
Logan cut it to 4-1 in the third with Kyle Harvey’s RBI ground out to second.
Nitro’s three-run fourth then put the NHS Wildcats ahead 7-1.
Down six in the top of the fifth, Logan’s Harvey and Preston drew back-to-back walks and LHS looked to start a one-out rally.
Nitro coach Steve Pritchard then went to his bullpen with Jacob Bradley. The reliever then put out the fire as he got Butcher to hit into an inning-ending double play.
McDonough notched the win as he went 4.1 innings and gave up one run and three hits with six strikeouts and four walks.
Minnick, who was tagged with the loss, went two innings and yielded four runs on two hits with two walks, a hit batter and two strikeouts.