The script has followed true to form.
Even after the Logan High School baseball team’s sectional opening upset loss at St. Albans, most felt the Wildcats could bounce back.
Most thought it would end up being Logan and Nitro in the Class AAA sectional championship game.
That’s exactly how it has turned out.
Logan (23-9) advanced to the finals by rallying back to beat St. Albans 3-2 on Tuesday night in a sectional elimination game at Logan’s Roger E. Gertz Field.
Logan is scheduled to travel to Nitro on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. to face the Nitro Wildcats (22-8) in the championship game.
Nitro, which lost 2-0 on Monday at Logan in Game 2 of the sectional tourney, bounced back to shut out St. Albans 10-0 at home on Tuesday night in Game 3.
With the second loss in the sectionals, St. Albans has been ousted from the double-elimination tournament. The Red Dragons, which beat Logan 4-3 in nine innings last Saturday in Game 1, closed out the 2014 prep baseball season with a 17-17 record.
Logan survived to play another day.
The Wildcats caught a break in the bottom of the fifth inning.
A big break.
Chase Preston led off the inning with a double off St. Albans starting pitcher Josh Burks. Catcher Z. Minnick was then intentionally walked with one out and Preston stole third to put runners at the corners.
After Chase Burnette popped out to the mound, third baseman Troy Burgess then popped a shallow fly ball to left which dropped in for a base hit in front of St. Albans left fielder Adam Bowen. Preston scored easily, and after the ball squirted past Bowen, Logan third base coach Kevin Gertz then waved in Minnick, who scored from first to put Logan ahead 3-2.
Logan relief pitcher Tim Saunders then closed the door on St. Albans, pitching 3.1 innings of hitless ball with four strikeouts. He retired the last nine batters he faced.
“We hung on,” Logan coach Roger Gertz said. “They made a mistake here in left field and Z. scored from first. I think that he’s healed. Hopefully he can give us some innings tomorrow.”
Burnette started on the hill for the Cats. He was pulled in the fourth after Burks put St. Albans ahead 2-1 with a two-run single to center.
Logan went ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the second as Saunders drew a bases loaded walk, scoring courtesy runner Will Akers.
Logan outhit St. Albans 7-6 for the game and neither team committed an error. Preston went 2-for-3 to lead Logan’s bats. Burks was 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Red Dragons.
The Wildcats are set to face Nitro on Thursday on the road in the sectional championship game. Logan is looking for its 14th sectional title in the last 15 years. The only time LHS has not won a sectional crown since 2000 was in 2012 when Logan was upset at South Charleston in the section title game.
Logan then rebounded to win over Nitro and St. Albans last year in its new Class AAA sectional.
Gertz said Nitro will be tough to beat. Nitro is coached by Chapmanville High School graduate Steve Pritchard.
“They’re good. They just kill the ball,” Gertz said of Nitro.
The winner of the Logan-Nitro game is scheduled to host Point Pleasant (17-10) next Tuesday in the Class AAA regional semifinals. 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.
Point Pleasant won its sectional title two games to one over Winfield. The Big Blacks downed Winfield 11-3 in the finals.
Region 4 Section 2
Saturday: St. Albans 4, Logan 3, 9 innings
Monday: Logan 2, Nitro 0
Tuesday: Nitro 10, St. Albans 0
Wednesday: Logan 3, St. Albans 2, St. Albans eliminated
Thursday: Logan at Nitro, 6:30 p.m.