Logue plays key role in hot lineup
The Bear River baseball team had just passed the midway point of its season when head coach Mike Viola decided a change was in order.
His Bruins had led in all the prior 11 of the Sierra Foothill League games and had only five wins to show for it.
Viola and his staff broke out the stat sheet, pencil and paper and went to work.
“Basically, we realigned the infield and changed the lineup. Before then, we were trying to put speed in one area and the power hitters in another and it just wasn’t working out,” Viola said.
“So we took all of the guys who were consistently hitting the ball hard and put them at the top of the lineup. And we put all of the guys with speed who could bunt and take the pitcher deep in the count and put them late,” he added.”
The Bruins won six of eight since the change, including a sweep of Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champ Granite Bay and are in the hunt for their first playoff berth in school history.
Key in Viola’s shakeup was Matt Logue.
On the offensive end, he moved the senior, whose leads the team in home runs (five), RBIs (22) batting average (.384) and tied for the lead in doubles with six, to the top of the order.
“As a lead off guy, he’s getting on base an making things happen,” Viola said. “He gets up. He gets on. He steals a base, then a double scores him and it’s 1-0. Now we’re moving.”
Logue, who was chosen to play in the Optimist All Star Baseball Game at Sacramento City College June 8, likes the change.
“I had been getting on base a lot so coach decided to move me to the lead off spot. And I’m just trying to keep on doing what I was doing, (which is) getting on base any way I can,” Logue said. “I think this has been a real nice spark for the team. The guys who weren’t hitting at the top of the lineup have moved to the bottom and have started hitting. It’s helped everyone out.”
Viola also shifted Logue on the defensive side of the ball.
“He was at third base for a long time, but we decided to move him to shortstop. Now he’s talking to the second baseman and the outfield,” Viola said. “We’ve only committed six errors in the last eight games. In professional or college ball, that doesn’t mean much. But that’s pretty good in high school. His presence has done a lot (to keeping the defense focused).”
Logue showed every facet of his game in the win at Granite Bay last Friday.
At the plate, he went 3-for-3 with a two run home run and pair of walks.
“On defense, we had a 4-6-3 double play where he had to barehand the ball and go to one. And he knocked the ball down in the hole a couple of times to keep the runner from reaching third,” Viola said.
The game was tied 2-2 after seven and Viola needed a closer.
Guess whose number he called?
“He came in the eight inning with one out and runners on first and second. They had a sac bunt then he walked a guy,” Viola said. “So he’s looking at bases loaded with two outs and he strikes out the next two guys.”
Bear River scored twice in its next at bat half of the ninth to grab a 4-2 lead.
Logue fanned the lead off batter for the first out. Then fielded a comebacker and gave up a fly ball to left field as the Bruins took the win.
“I felt real good after that game. It was probably the best game I’ve had in my three years on the varsity,” Logue said.
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