Beaver Tales

By JOE McFARLAND

Patience is paying off in a big way for Gavin Logan.

The Oyen, Alberta native is off to a strong start at the plate with the Oregon State Beavers, hitting .339 with two home runs and 12 runs batted in over the first 14 games.

He has also been his strong and steady self behind the plate as the team’s number-one catcher, which is something the Dawgs Academy grad has wanted since stepping foot on-campus.

“It’s been amazing,” Logan told Alberta Dugout Stories: The Podcast. “It’s kind of a dream come true, honestly.”

At 14-4, the Beavers are now ranked number-two in NCAA Division I baseball, and while winning is fun, he says it’s almost secondary to the feeling of coming to the ballpark each day to compete.

“We obviously know that we’re hot right now, but we expect to win every single game,” Logan continued.

“We should be undefeated right now – that’s our mentality – and that’s going to be the mentality going forward.”

It’s also a mindset Logan is taking personally, after not getting off to the start he wanted at Oregon State.

BREAKING THROUGH

Growing up in the Oyen and Veteran areas, Logan had become accustomed to being the top player at his position.

It was something he continued to do at Dawgs Academy, and even admits he unexpectedly took the lead role when he joined Southeastern Community College and Linn-Benton Community College.

However, arriving at Oregon State for the 2021 season as a sophomore provided one of the biggest challenges in his baseball career.

“A lot of guys are always ‘the guy’ coming out of high school,” Logan said. “Then I wasn’t and it’s something a lot of guys really struggle with and I, myself, struggled with it as well because there were two guys ahead of me.”

With Troy Claunch getting the majority of the playing time, Logan split the backup duties with Cole Hamilton.

“I just put my head down and tried to work myself through it and tried to beat them out,” he said. “That didn’t happen, so I just had to kind of take a deep breath and reflect on what I could do better and wait for my opportunity to do my best.”

When called upon, Logan did his best to impress by hitting .318 with a home run and four runs batted in.

That roundtripper came in a game against Santa Clara, which ranks as one of his favourite moments on the diamond. He also recalls the moment vividly.

“It was something that sort of overtook me with emotion a little bit because I wasn’t playing a whole lot and I had COVID for a couple of weeks and I wasn’t around the team,” Logan recalled.

“To just come back and randomly hit a ball out of nowhere, it was something really cool for me.”

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

Coming into his junior season, Claunch moved onto Texas A&M while Hamilton signed a free agent contract with the Washington Nationals, opening the door for Logan to take the reigns.

The Tournament-12 alum’s primary objective was to be as consistent as possible, believing that would allow everyone else to focus on what they need to do.

It’s a mindset that has served previous Oregon State catchers well, including Baltimore Orioles 2019 first-overall draft pick Adley Rutschman as well as current head coach and former San Diego Padres first-rounder Mitch Canham.

At the plate, Logan has benefitted from working with former MLB utilityman Darwin Barney, who joined the Beavers as an assistant coach in 2020.

 “He’s a big guy on consistency and that’s always been something that I’ve wanted to work on,” said Logan, who spent part of the 2020 summer with the West Coast League’s Bend Elks.

“It’s probably the hardest thing to do in the game of baseball is just be consistent at the plate.”

The 22-year-old also credits Barney with helping him with his mental game and staying in positive routines.

WORLD SERIES ASPIRATIONS

Despite the praise and rankings success, Logan says the Beavers aren’t content, as the ultimate goal is to win the College World Series.

Oregon State has made seven appearances in the school’s history, winning in 2006, 2007 and 2018 under legendary coach and former Calgary Cannons star Pat Casey.

READ MORE: Blast From The Past

Logan says the team is locked-in right now, not taking anyone for granted as they know the target will firmly be on their backs.

“It’s just kind of go out and do our job and take care of our own business, kind of thing,” he said.

“We don’t really get too locked into rankings because there are teams that aren’t even close to being there beating teams in the top ten some days. It’s crazy.”

With that goal in mind, Logan hasn’t given a lot of thought to whether he will be playing summer baseball somewhere, like he did in 2019 when he helped the Okotoks Dawgs take home the Western Canadian Baseball League championship.

However, he doesn’t shy away from the opportunity to impart some wisdom on the next generation of ball players coming through his alma mater at Dawgs Academy.

“Take care of your school stuff,” the 5-foot-11, 212-pound backstop stated.

“If you don’t take care of your school stuff, it translates onto the field and it can hurt you in the opportunities you might want have.”

He also echoes what many college players say about controlling what you can control, working hard, trusting the process and the value of patience.

It’s gotten Logan this far, so it’s probably sound advice coming from a young man who is taking his game to the next level.

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