LOGAN - Ever since taking to the baseball diamond for the first time in 2012, the Carolina blue clad Mingo Central Miners have tasted little success.
The Miners have endured seven straight losing seasons, eight, if you count this year.
Mingo Central doesn't even have an on-campus baseball facility to call home as the Miners have to travel 30 minutes down the road to Williamson's Lefty Hamilton Park just to practice or to play games.
That will be changing next year as Mingo Central High School is expected to have a brand new baseball facility built high atop 2,200-foot Miner Mountain.
The Miners hope their future is bright in baseball.
On Monday night at Logan, Mingo Central's entire outlook received a major shot in the arm as the Miners went to Logan's Roger E. Gertz Field and upset the Wildcats 2-1 in the Class AA Region 4 Section 2 opener.
Despite the Wildcats' mediocrity this spring, and amid a rebuilding season, the result was still a shocker.
Logan had entered the game as the No. 3 seed and were the two-time defending sectional champions. Logan's baseball pedigree is well known, having won six state championships at either the Class AAA or AA level in 1984, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2008.
For the Miners, having gone 7-19, 2-15, 4-10, 9-20, 3-24, 12-16, 15-22 in their previous seven years, this was perhaps their biggest signature win ever.
No one gave the sixth-seeded team much of a chance to do anything in this year's sectionals, much less having any shot at beating Logan.
The last time the Miners came to Logan was back on March 23 as Logan tattooed Mingo to the tune of 8-1 and 16-0 in a doubleheader sweep.
Two and out, most said, when asked about Mingo's sectional chances.
But to the Miner nine that was only motivation and a chip on their shoulders as Mingo Central (10-16) stunned the Wildcats and moved into Tuesday's winner's bracket game at Class AA No. 7-ranked and second-seeded Chapmanville (18-8).
Win or lose against the Tigers, Mingo Central will still be living to play another day.
"We are a pretty young program," Mingo Central coach Logan Lester said. "This is our third biggest win total and it's the first time in the super section that we got a win. Hats off to Logan. They always have had a great program. Back when I was playing they were the gold standard. Hopefully, we can take a win like this, keep playing and keep building on that momentum."
The tables are turned now for Logan.
With the tournament being double elimination, the Wildcats' backs are against the wall. Logan (12-11) is slated to host either Man (14-7-1) or Lincoln County (11-9) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a loser-go-home game.
The Miners kept Logan on their toes the entire game, playing an error-free game and getting a masterful performance from right-handed ace pitcher Andrew Allen, who fired a complete game win. Allen tossed all seven innings, allowing one run, scattering eight hits and striking out three.
"Defensively, we really came to play," Lester said. "We took care of the easy plays and when you do that everything else will fall into place. Drew pitched a heck of a game on the mound, man."
Tied 1-1, Mingo Central scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run in the top of the seventh.
Seth Jude led off by being safe on a two-bases error when he lofted a high fly ball into the left field corner, which was dropped by Logan's Carson Kirk. Jude took third on Isa Scales' groundout to second and then scored on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the seventh, Allen got the Wildcats out in order, preserving the win.
Ethan Carter flew out to center to end the game.
"Can of corn!" yelled one Mingo fan as Scales camped under the fly ball, squeezing his mitt and giving the Miners the victory.
Mingo Central players ran onto the field and the short celebration was on.
Braydon McClung was the tough luck pitcher of record for Logan as he didn't get any run support. He tossed 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits with 11 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter. Peyton Branham came on to get the last out.
Mingo Central had taken a 1-0 lead in the second as Lance Lester struck out but reached first base on the dropped third strike and later scored on a wild pitch.
Logan wasn't able to tie it until the bottom of the fifth.
Branham led off with a double and his pinch runner Brandon Gore took third on a wild pitch and scored on Carter's RBI single to right center, just beyond the out-stretched glove of Miners' second baseman Ashton Deskins.
Logan put a runner on in the sixth but was picked off at first by Allen.
In the bottom of the first, the Cats had runners at second and third but Allen was able to get Connor McGrew to ground out to second to end the threat.
Korbin Bostic and Branham were each 2-for-3 at the plate to lead Logan. McClung, Dawson Beckett, Dorian Keene and Carter all had hits.
Levi Davis was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles for Mingo. Jace Dotson, Deskins and Daylin Goad added hits.
Logan committed three errors in the game.
The Wildcats, coached by Kevin Gertz, are having their third so-so season out of the last four years.
Logan was 18-16 last year but won the sectional title. Two years ago, Logan was 20-10 en route to the sectional title. Back in 2016, Logan was just 12-10.
Mingo Central hopes to keep the run going into the sectionals and go into next spring with renewed enthusiasm. Having the new baseball field at the school will help, Coach Lester said.
"We're hoping to have it built by the fall, so we can use it, practice there and get some reps," he said. "Everyone always says, 'just wait until you get that field and things will turn around.' We travel 25 minutes for a home game at Lefty. I think we only got onto the field one time before our first game with Chapmanville. That's tough to do. You can't really simulate game reps on a turfed football field."
Lester said he's proud of his team.
"You have to take the crutches out from under our arms," he said." These guys have done that this year with our senior class. They've been there right with me the whole time. They've stepped up and moved the program forward."
Paul Adkins is the sports editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner or email him at email@example.com.