Gallery by Tina Laney
Charleston – Throughout the postseason Shady Spring had found the hitting and pitching it needed to be successful.
Thursday afternoon the magic ran out.
Hampered by 10 walks, two hit batsman and sluggish hitting, Shady Spring’s season came to an end with 10-1 loss to Logan in the semifinals of the Class AA state baseball tournament at Appalachian Power Park.
“Cam (Manns) couldn’t find it early, but Cam is Cam and he battled. The second and third inning we got down 2-1, but we were still in it the whole time until the fifth inning when they scored six,” Shady Spring head coach Jordan Meadows said. “The kids battled all year. I have said it for two weeks now that nobody expected us to be there. Logan is a tough team and they are the defending state champs for a reason.”
The day started promising for the Tigers when Tyler Mackey hit a one-out triple and scored later on a fielder’s choice.
Unfortunately for Shady Spring only four more balls dropped for hits the rest of the way and two of those came in the final inning with the game out of hand.
After the first inning run, Logan starter Dawson Maynard settled in allowing just two hits to keep Shady frustrated and record the win.
“He was throwing the ball over the plate. He tends to be a strike machine. He wasn’t hit hard and is rarely hit hard,” Logan head coach Kevin Gertz said. “After the one-out triple in the first I told him I didn’t care about it. Nobody scores after that guy. He attacks the zone and has a great slider. He is a heck of a player.”
Logan evened the game during a bizarre second inning that saw four straight walks with no runs scored after a runner was called out on batter interference.
Shady Spring appeared to have recorded the third out of the same inning on a swing and miss, but that was not the case.
“We all thought Carson (Kirk) swung and missed, so he goes to first” Gertz said. “What the home plate umpire did was point to the first base umpire to see if he did go. He said no. I didn’t know what was going on.”
The play was clearly unsettling to the Tigers who surrendered their first run on another walk and an infield hit to even the game.
Logan appeared to put Shady in a serious bind in the third inning when Ryan Roberts smacked a one-out RBI double for a 2-1 lead. However, with runners at second and third, Manns reached back for two big strikeouts to keep the game close.
“We didn’t execute early. We missed two signs and we didn’t get bunts down in the first two innings,” Gertz said. “When we got the 2-1 lead, we relaxed a little bit and played like we play. We normally execute that kind of stuff and put pressure on people. You have to make plays.”
With Shady struggling to score, the Wildcats began to slowly pull away aided by the big bat of Konner Lowe. A two-out double from Lowe scored two runs to give Logan a 4-1 advantage after four innings.
Lowe, who hit two doubles on the day and drove in five runs, also made a huge impact last year to lead Logan to the state championship title.
“The (Charleston) Dirty Birds need to sign that guy because I think he has seven doubles in three games here,” Gertz said. “Konner can really hit. He can flat out swing it and he is a double (hitting) machine.”
The game slipped away from the Tigers in the fifth inning when the Wildcats scored six runs aided by a two-run blast from Korbin Bostic and a double down the right field line from Lowe which brought home more three runs.
“If you see (Korbin) take his shirt off, you will see why he hit that home run. He is a big boy,” Gertz said. “We won the state tournament last year on June 25 and on June 26, we had all eight returning starters in the weight room and hitting on their own. They have lifted for 300-and-however many straight days. He is one of the top hitters in this state.”
Mackey was the one bright spot of the day for the Tigers with three hits in four trips. The junior spark-plug will lead a solid group of returnees for Shady who looks to build off its solid season.
“Tonight was tough. I am proud as hell of them. We just couldn’t get the bats going,” Meadows said. “They realize that they are a team and a brotherhood. I told the underclassman that we will be right back here next year. Everybody is confident. We just have to keep working and find a way to win.”