Logan manager Doug Williamson gets a celebratory ice water shower following Logan's win in the West Virginia Junior League State Championship on July 19 at Roger E. Gertz Field (Photo courtesy of Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography).
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
LOGAN The Logan Junior League’s quest for regional championship is set to begin Friday afternoon in the Junior League Baseball Southeast Regional in Bridgewater, Virginia.
Logan, one of seven state champions in the double-elimination tournament, is set to open tournament play at 3 p.m. against Tennessee state champion Murfreesboro Junior League.
The Southeast regional champion advances to the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Michigan from August 13-19. The Southeast champion would begin play on August 14 against the winner of the East region/Central region.
Logan manager Doug Williamson, who is also an assistant coach for Logan High School and will be coaching in his third regional tournament, said Logan is good enough to get to the final game if the pitchers are throwing strikes.
“It is that simple, we are good enough to go win game there, compete and play in the final game,” Williamson said. "One thing we have to do is throw strikes. We have a ton of pitchers, so we will have some tough decisions.”
In the West Virginia Junior League State Tournament last week at Logan’s Roger E. Gertz Field, Logan outscored the opposition 19-4, however, 11 of Logan’s 19 runs came after the fifth inning.
As a team, Logan hit just .208 in the tournament. In its tournament opener against Sophia, Logan’s only hit was a bunt single off the bat of Crew Blankenship. In the winner’s bracket championship against St. Albans, Logan had nine hits with six of those hits coming after the fifth inning. In the state championship game against St. Albans, Logan had just one hit entering the sixth inning before registering four hits and scoring fours runs.
Despite the low batting average, Logan drew 19 walks, reached base six times by error, and was hit by the pitch three times. Given extra base runners and extra outs, Logan put the pressure on the competition by playing small ball. In its three state tournament games, Logan stole eight bases, laid down five sacrifice bunts and had one sacrifice fly.
“That’s what we are capable of, that’s how we play the game we don’t hit a bunch of balls in the gap, but we have kids that hit line drives,” Williamson said. " That is how they are going to play when they get to the high school, and we played like that all week.”
Heading into Friday’s opener against Murfreesboro, Williamson has options as to whom his starting pitcher will be. He could give the ball to Grayson Sanders, Owen Bryant, Bentley Williamson, or Landon Hall, who didn’t throw one pitch in the state tournament.
“Our best thrower on our team, who throws the hardest, whose slider runs the hardest is Landon Hall,” Williamson said. “He didn’t even throw in this (state) tournament.”
Sanders got the start in Logan’s 3-2 win over Sophia on July 15. The righthander tossed a complete game and allowed two runs on seven hits, stuck out three and walked one in the win.
“I have a ton of trust in Grayson. He is going to go out there, throw strikes and throw competitive strikes,” Williamson said. "He is going to go inside and out, and he is very good at what he does.”
Bryant tossed six innings of two-hit baseball, allowed two unearned runs, walked four and struck out two in Logan’s 10-2 win over St. Albans on July 17.
“Owen is good on the mound,” Williamson said. “He throws the ball hard, his slider runs, and he had a great performance.”
In the championship game against St. Albans on July 19, Williamson, who is the manager’s son, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a two-out single. He struck out six, walked five and hit one in the 6-0 win.
“I am hard on him sometimes, but he had a good day,” Williamson said. “He was good on the mound.”
Other pitching options out of the bullpen that could start during the tournament include Blankenship, David Browning and Luvante Keeney.
Logan Little League has enjoyed a lot of success this season. They have won three state championships in 8-10 baseball, 10-12 softball and junior league baseball.
Two years ago, they were runner-up in the 10-12 state tournament and last season they were runner-up in the junior league division, losing to Jefferson in both state championship games.
“We have a great team they have worked their tails off to get to this point,” Williamson said. "I am glad to see them have the success. The past two years we have lost in the state championship game.”
Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Wilmington, Carolina get things going at 9 a.m. Friday morning in the five-day double elimination tournament.
Irmo, South Carolina takes on Upper Loudoun, Virginia at noon followed by Logan and Murfreesboro at 3 p.m.
On Saturday, Athens, Georgia will face the Fort Lauderdale-Wilmington winner at 9 a.m., followed a winner’s bracket contest at noon between the Irmo-Upper Loudoun winner and the Logan-Murfreesboro winner, and the Irmo-Upper Loudoun loser will play the Logan-Murfreesboro loser at 3 p.m.
2023 Junior League Baseball Southeast Regional
Friday July 28
Game 1 Fort Lauderdale (FL) Vs Wilmington (NC) 9:00 AM
Game 2 Irmo (SC) Vs Upper Loudoun (VA) 12 Noon
Game 3 Logan (WV) Vs Murfreesboro (TN) 3:00 PM
Saturday July 29
Game 4 Athens (GA) Vs Winner Game 1 9:00 AM
Game 5 Winner Game 2 Vs Winner Game 3 12 Noon
Game 6 Loser Game 2 Vs Loser Game 3 3:00 PM
Sunday July 30
Game 7 Loser Game 4 Vs Winner Game 6 9:00 AM
Game 8 Loser Game 1 Vs Loser Game 5 12 Noon
Game 9 Winner Game 4 Vs Winner Game 5 3:00 PM
Game 10 Winner Game 7 Vs Winner Game 8 6:00 PM
Monday July 31
Game 11 Loser Game 9 Vs Winner Game 10 10:00 AM
Tuesday August 1
Game 12 Winner Game 9 Vs Winner Game 11 10:00 AM
Friday July 28
Game 12 Game 10 Winner Vs Winner Game 11 11:00 AM