A fly ball drops in between Logan left fielder Luvante Keney (left) and shortstop Grayson Sanders (right) during the third inning of Logan's 7-1 win over Murfreesboro (TN) Friday afternoon in the Junior League Baseball Southeast Regional (Photo by Bill Lusk/WVOW Sports).
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
BRIDGEWATER, VIRGINIA Grayson Sanders pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, Jack Ball drove in two runs and the Logan Junior League All-stars turned three double plays to beat the Murfreesboro, Tennessee Junior League 7-1 Friday afternoon in the Junior League Baseball Southeast Regional at Ray Heatwole Field.
Sanders relieved starting pitcher Bentley Williamson in the top of the third, inheriting a bases loaded situation and needing just five pitches to get out of the inning.
Sanders picked off a runner at third and got out of the inning when he was able to get a pop out which turned into a double play when Logan second basemen Owen Bryant was able to double up a Murfreesboro runner, who had ventured too far off the bag at first for the final out.
“Grayson come into a big spot, we got a pick off and a fly ball that doubled a guy off,” Logan manager Doug Williamson said. “Grayson pitched a heck of a game after that.”
“Grayson grinded, grinded, and grinded today. He was good and he has been working hard,” Williamson said. “This is a credit to him, but he picked up a slider between the state tournament and the regional. That is how good of a kid he is and he got out after out and rollover off that pitch.”
Sanders struck out two and didn’t allow a hit and threw just 37 pitches. Ball had a two-run double in the bottom of the third that gave Logan a four-run lead.
“We didn’t hit the ball great, but Jack Ball had a big, timely hit,” Williamson said. “We put the ball in play, we bunted the ball a little bit, and we played Logan baseball.”
Crew Blankenship, David Browning and Riley McClung each went 2-for-3 and had six of Logan’s nine hits. Blankenship also drove in a run while McClung, Logan’s starting catcher, caught the entire seven innings in 90-degree weather with a heat index of over 100 degrees.
“Not only did he (McClung) have two hits, but he hustled his butt down to first base every single time,” Williamson said.
With the win, Logan advances in the winner’s bracket and will face Irmo, South Carolina on Saturday at 12 Noon. Irmo advanced with a 10-7 winner over Upper Loudoun, Virginia.
“It’s tough to win in regionals,” Williamson said. “They hit the ball well. Two, three and four (in the lineup) hit the ball hard. They made some errors in the field; the other team walked a bunch. We are going to go throw some strikes tomorrow, make some plays and see what happens.”
Logan turned double plays in the second, third and seventh innings.
“I thought Grayson made a bunch of plays, Landon (Hall) made a bunch of plays, Owen (Bryant) made a bunch of plays early,” Williamson said. “We played good, the game plan worked, and we will take it.”
Logan Cortez drove in Murfreesboro’s only run with an RBI double in the top of the first.
Logan answered with a run in the bottom of the first on Sanders’ RBI single to tie it at 1.
Blankenship gave Logan a 2-1 lead with a run-scoring bunt single and preceded to get caught in a run down between first and second allowing Gabryl Goldie to score from third giving Logan a 3-1 lead after two innings.
Ball’s two-run single in the third gave Logan a 5-1 lead. Logan would score a run in the fifth as Browning scored on a wild pitch and plated one more in the sixth when Goldie scored on a balk.
Williamson tossed two innings, before being lifted after 39 pitches, allowing one run on three hits, walked two and struck out one to earn the win on the mound for Logan. Browning walked one and struck out one in 1/3 inning.
Stellar Martin suffered the loss for Murfreesboro after allowing five runs, seven hits with two strikeouts and one walk in three innings. Kelton Russell, who had Murfressboro lone other hit, allowed one run, one hit, walked two and struck out one in two innings. Lincoln Simmons allowed one run on one hit and struck out two in one inning.
For Logan, Hall had one hit and Goldie and Williamson each scored two runs.
2023 Junior League Baseball Southeast Regional
Friday July 28
Game 1 Fort Lauderdale (FL) 12, Wilmington (NC) 2
Game 2 Irmo (SC) 10, Upper Loudoun (VA) 7
Game 3 Logan (WV) 7, Murfreesboro (TN) 1
Saturday July 29
Game 4 Athens (GA) Vs Fort Lauderdale (FL) 9:00 AM
Game 5 Irmo (SC) Vs Logan (WV) 12 Noon
Game 6 Murfreesboro (TN) Vs Upper Loudoun (VA) 3:00 PM
Sunday July 30
Game 7 Loser Game 4 Vs Winner Game 6 9:00 AM
Game 8 Wilmington (NC) 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