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The Logan Wildcats won their eighth state championship in school history defeating Fairmont Senior 11-6 Saturday morning at Appalachian Power Park.
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
CHARLESTON Seven is Heaven, but eight is great.
Top seed Logan, who finished the season ranked second in the West Virginia MetroNews Class AA power rankings, won its eighth baseball state championship in school history Saturday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park with an 11-6 victory over third-seeded Fairmont Senior.
Five of nine Wildcat starters had multiple hits for Logan, who had 14 hits in the contest and became just the fifth Class AA to repeat as state champion since the tournament field expanded to two classes in 1976.
“I wasn’t aware of that, nor did I realize it, but we cand it, and we had a great round of batting practice this morning,” Logan coach Kevin Gertz said. “I knew this would be special, and I knew going into this stuff that if you were going to beat us you were going to be very, very, very good because I know we were good.”
Logan won the Class AA state championship in 2021 and won back-to-back Class AAA championships in 2000 and 2001.
“These guys have been compared to that 2000 and 2001 team,” Gertz said. “I am not going to take anything away from that 2000 and 2001 team because I coached them a long, long, long time, but I would like to see the two play.”
Garrett Williamson was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs while Dawson Maynard finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, finishing 3-for-4 with a ground rule double, solo home run, three runs scored and two RBIs.
“In my opinion, Dawson’s the best player in this state in any class, that’s me and I’m biased,” Gertz said. “But he homers, he hits a ground rule double, he singles, he hits one off the end of the bat and nearly hit a grand slam. He can play and he’s a heck of a pitcher.”
Konner Lowe continued his hot hitting in Power Park, by going 2-for-4 including a double and three RBIs.
In four games at Power Park, dating back to last season’s state tournament, Lowe, a junior, finished 9-for-14 with six doubles and 11 RBIs.
“He gets it done and he can swing it,” Gertz said. “Maybe we can make this our home field next year. He will be player of the year.”
The Wildcats got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Three pitches into the first at bat, Korbin Bostic was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a throwing error by pitcher Samuel Viani and scored Maynard’s ground rule double to center.
Jake Ramey followed with a bunt single, and Williamson drove in Maynard by reaching base safely on a throwing error by third baseman Gavin Blair to extend the lead to 2-0.
Ramey stole third and scored when catcher Chris Bigelow’s throw, resulting in the third Polar Bear error, sailed into left field for a 3-0 lead. Lowe’s single scored Williamson giving Logan a 4-0 lead and Jared Burnette’s ground out scored Lowe with the final run of the first for a 5-0 Logan lead.
Samuel Viani faced six batters in the first inning allowing five runs, only three earned, on four hits, one hit batter and three costly errors.
“They were shook early, they made three errors and we capitalized on it,” Gertz said. “We hit two innings in the first because that is what three errors mean, that is six outs.”
Fairmont Senior capitalized on a couple of Logan errors in the top of the second as Blair led off with a walk and came around to score on a Wildcat fielding error to trim the deficit to 5-1.
Logan answered quickly in the top of the second as Maynard crushed an 0-2 curveball over the left field fence for his sixth home run of the season for a 6-1 Logan lead.
“Whenever I am a batting, I always set one pitch,” Maynard said. “First at bat I sat a fastball, second at bat I got a curve ball and third at bat I got another fastball.”
“It was a great day at the plate,” Maynard said. “I had the right approach out there today.”
Following Maynard’s home run, Ramey drew a one out walk. McCormick Ilderton, serving as Ramey’s courtesy runner, stole second and came around to score on Williamson’s first hit to give Logan a 7-1 lead.
Fairmont Senior got a run in the fourth when Evan Dennison led off with the first of his three doubles and came around to score on Ryan Roberts’ throwing error to cut the deficit to 7-2.
Logan answered in the bottom of the fourth as Williamson singled to score Maynard giving Logan a 7-2 lead after four innings.
The Polar Bears pulled with three runs, 8-5, with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. Dennison had a two-run double to make it 8-4 and Blair singled to score Dennison to round out the scoring for Fairmont in the top of the fifth.
Logan loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth but Dominic Viani, who came on in relief in the first inning, worked out of the jam by getting Maynard to fly out to deep center.
Logan put the game away in the bottom of the sixth with three runs. Lowe started the scoring with a two-run double to right field scoring Ramey and Williamson for a 10-5 lead.
Courtesy runner Conner Mullins replaced Lowe on the base paths and advance to third on a fourth Fairmont Senior error and scored when Aiden Slack walked and was caught in a run down between first and second base to extend the margin to 11-5 after six.
The Polar Bears got their final run in the seventh on Dennison’s third double scoring Gunner Riley.
Sameul Viani took the loss for Fairmont Senior. Dominic Viani allowed six runs on 10 hits while striking out four and walking three in five innings pitched. Riley pitched one hitless inning of relief striking out one and walking one.
Dennison’s three doubles and three RBIs led Fairmont Senior at the plate. The Polar Bears got two hits from Dominic Viani and one hit and one RBI apiece from Blair and Cam Peschel and one hit each from Logan Canfield and Riley.
Fairmont Senior ended the year with a record of 22-10. The Polar Bears were attempting to become the first school since Wheeling (2005 and 2008) to win state championships football, boys basketball and baseball in the same calendar year.
The Polar Bears, who have never won a state baseball championship, fell to 0-9 in state championship games never quit and kept fighting for seven innings despite falling behind early.
“They played better and played better defense,” Gertz said. “Every single time they scored we answered.”
Roberts got the win for Logan after allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 4 2/3 innings. Lowe, relieved Roberts in the fifth inning, and earned the save. The junior lefthander allowed one run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings.
“Ryan Roberts threw great today, and he (Lowe) came in and was phenomenal,” Gertz said. “If we had to Jared and Chad Burnette, Garrett Williamson, Aiden Slack and whomever would have come in and done the job.”
“Going into the year we are thinking he (Lowe) is our number one and just a couple of weeks after our season was over, he had Tommy John surgery,” Gertz said. “He worked his tail off and ‘I said I don’t know what happens he is getting on that mound,’ He threw great.”
Ramey and Slack each had two hits for Logan, who also got one hit each from Carson Kirk and Roberts and one RBI from Jared Burnette.
Logan ends the year with a record of 29-9 and will attempt to become just the second team to win three consecutive Class AA state championships next season. If the Wildcats can accomplish the feat, they will become the first team in school history to win three straight championships.
“We are not ready to stop yet,” Gertz said. “Keep it rolling, hopefully.”
Class AA State Tournament Schedule
At Appalachian Power Park
Thursday, June 2
1) Logan 10, 4) Shady Spring 1
3) Fairmont Senior 7, 2) Robert C. Byrd 4
Saturday, June 4
1) Logan 11, 3) Fairmont Senior 6
Class AA All-Tournament Team
Korbin Bostic, Logan
Konner Lowe, Logan
Dawson Maynard, Logan
Ryan Roberts, Logan
Evan Dennison, Fairmont Senior
Mayson Jack, Fairmont Senior
Gunner Riley, Fairmont Senior
Luke Sperry, Robert C. Byrd
Brayden Thompson, Robert C. Byrd
Tyler Mackey, Shady Spring