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Prep baseball: Minnick powers Logan past St. Albans for sectional title

By Nick Brockman

Logan's Zach Minnick packed the power and pitching to propel the Wildcats past St. Albans in the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 championship on Thursday night.

Minnick, a sophomore, provided Logan a lead it would never surrender with a two-run home run and tossed 32/3 no-hit innings in relief, as the Wildcats defeated St. Albans 4-2 at Loftis Field.

"He's got a lot of talent for a young kid," Logan Coach Roger Gertz said. "He's gifted. I think his future is really bright."

Because of Minnick's performance, the Wildcats have plenty to celebrate in the present, too, with the win.

"It feels good," Gertz said of the sectional title. "It's a tough section. You got two great teams in Nitro and St. Albans, and we had to fight tooth and nail to get through them. We were fortunate. We're tickled to death."

While Minnick made perhaps his team's biggest contributions, he said neither his home run, nor his no-hit relief performance meant as much as the win.

"I think the win is more important than anything," Minnick said. "That was a big one."

At the plate, Minnick provided Logan's first two runs on a two-out home run to left field in the third inning.

"My second pitch of the at-bat was a slider inside," Minnick said. "I missed it, I know I did. They just happened to throw it again later in the count and I was ready for it that time."

Down 1-0 before Minnick's blast, the home run gave Logan a lead it never relinquished. Later in the third, Benji Adkins ripped an RBI single to give the Wildcats a 3-1 advantage.

In the fourth, Wildcats second baseman Chase Preston hit an RBI double to extend the Logan lead to 4-1.

In the bottom of the fourth, Minnick entered to relieve Logan starting pitcher Johnny Morrison. Minnick toed the rubber with the bases loaded and one out. Minnick induced an RBI infield groundout, then secured the inning's third out with a strikeout to limit the rally. At that point, Logan led 4-2.

"I just got to help out my starter and make sure I get him out of that situation," Minnick said of his role escaping the St. Albans threat.

Logan controlled the latter innings, though it was St. Albans that struck first. The Red Dragons scored the game's first run in the first inning. Phoenix Shrewsbury started the bottom of the first with a lead-off double and advanced to third base on a passed ball. Dustin Turley hit a deep sacrifice fly ball to center field to score Shrewsbury.

Down 3-1, St. Albans looked to cut the deficit in the third inning. With one out, Shrewsbury singled and Turley walked. Next, Logan turned an impressive 4-6-3 double play as Preston fielded a grounder up the middle and flipped to shortstop Trent Dalton, who turned and fired to first base.

The double play ended the Red Dragons threat as the Wildcats escaped unharmed in the inning.

St. Albans threatened again in the third before Minnick entered to quell the comeback.

Prior to Thursday's game, St. Albans defeated Logan 5-2 on Saturday to tie the series at one game apiece and force a third sectional contest.


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