Prep baseball: Burgess helps Logan secure win over Nitro
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Logan junior Troy Burgess said he likes getting nervous because it gives him "a little boost."
If that's true, he was in a different world on Tuesday night at Nitro's Brandon Matthew Sneed Field.
Burgess pitched six-plus solid innings and ended a long at-bat in the seventh inning with a ground ball that scored the lead run and Logan went on to secure a 4-3 victory in a game that featured two teams struggling to find their bats.
"When I came in there I just thought about what I had to do," said Burgess, who came to the plate in a 2-2 game with two outs and runners on first and second.
The runner on first was as the result of an intentional walk to cleanup hitter Benji Adkins, who was 0-for-2 with a walk to that point. Burgess had a single and an RBI.
On this occasion, he fouled off five consecutive 1-2 pitches from reliever Eddie Flores before hitting a hard grounder to shortstop Solomon Shamblin. Shamblin went to his right and fielded the ball, but rushed his throw to second but the ball sailed past second baseman Chase Preston and toward the right field line. Trent Dalton, who had reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the inning, scored to give Logan (6-3) the lead. The two-run cushion came by virtue of a wild pitch from Nitro (6-3).
"It was a 1-2 count and actually I thought he was going to go way outside," Burgess said. "I don't know what he was thinking, I'm just glad he did that. I was getting frustrated. They tell me I always go out on my toes too much on outside balls, to step back, step through it and drive it and I was just getting frustrated because I wasn't doing that.
"He was giving me pitches to hit."
It was the culmination of a busy night and, perhaps, a turning point for Burgess, who Logan Coach Roger Gertz said isn't as aggressive as he should be.
Burgess struck out seven Nitro batters with four walks and had a single that knocked in a run and a sacrifice fly that added another RBI.
"He always tells me that I need to get more aggressive out here," said Burgess, half-brother of former Logan standout Taylor Crouse. "I actually got into trouble in our last game. I hit a liner and we had a runner on second who went to third. He was waving him in, then stopped him. On that, he said I should wait to see where the ball is thrown and I should've gone to second and didn't. I had gotten thrown out the inning before. He's saying I need to go all out all the time."
Burgess is in a tough spot. The expectations are high from Gertz, who was a third baseman during his playing days and said Burgess - also a third baseman - "has a lot of talent."
"I told him that the other day when we came back from the beach," Gertz said. "I told him, 'I've been on you too bad. I'm going to back off. I play third and I expect you to do everything I did in 20-some years.'
"I was really pleased with what he did here tonight."
Nitro's Tyler Barton had two hits and an RBI, which came on a squeeze bunt in the fourth inning.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.