MIDDLEBURY — Shannon Baker and Brock Logan have been bashing baseballs for the same team for years now.
The left-handed-slugging Northridge High School seniors — who first played together as 12-year-olds for the traveling Middlebury Bombers — will get a chance to do it for a few more years when they both head off to play for NCAA Division I Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne.
But before that, Baker and Logan hope to do more damage while representing the Raiders as they chase a Northern Lakes Conference title and try to make noise in the postseason.
The Class 4A Elkhart Sectional begins May 23.
Lefty Baker bats No. 3, right-hander Blake Fry No. 4 and lefty Logan No. 5 in coach Andrew Brabender’s batting order.
“(Logan) does an awful lot for a baseball team,” says Brabender. “He’s a vocal leader and leads by example.
“He’s got a big-time bat and a pretty consistent right-handed arm (as a pitcher). He’s a great kid to be around.”
Brabender is close to the Logan family, having served as a Northridge football assistant with Mike Logan and then having the elder Logan on his baseball staff. Mike and Karin Logan’s younger son, Nicholas, is opposite of big brother, hitting right and throwing left, and plays for his father on the Michiana Scrappers 12U Black team.
Over the years, Mike Logan spent countless hours working with Brock on his hitting.
“I was pretty demanding on the kid,” says Mike Logan. “He always wanted to swing a golf club and I told him if he signed a D-I letter of intent, I would take him to the driving range and let him have at it. I guess we have a golf date.”
Shannon is the youngest of John and Sara Baker’s three children. Westview High School baseball assistant Shawn is the oldest, followed by recent college graduate Samantha. Shawn played for Mike Logan at Northridge.
Count Brabender impressed when he looks at Shannon’s offensive skills.
“(Baker) is a very, very polished high school hitter,” says Brabender. “He’s got great hands. It’s very natural to Shannon.”
Both Baker and Logan, who impressed IPFW coach Bobby Pierce and his staff while they were recruiting an opposing pitcher, play with assurance.
“It’s definitely important to have some confidence in yourself and your teammates,” says Baker. “You pump them up and tell them there’s nothing we can’t handle as a team.”
“You have to have that swagger that you’re the best and no one out there’s going to beat you,” says Logan. “Our team has put in the work. We’ve been through everything together. We know we’ve put the work in and we’re going to go out there and play our game.”
Baker has been a lefty swinger since he first picked up a bat, but not Logan.
“When I was younger, I was a righty,” says Logan. “But my dad noticed that I was not the most fleet of foot. To give me the most advantage, he moved me to the left side so I’m two steps closer to first base when I’m running.”
Logan, who discovered his power stroke at 12 and admires power-hitting lefties like David Ortiz and Prince Fielder, gets “his money’s worth” with every cut.
At first base, Logan adopts Albert Pujols’ stance of facing the pitcher to give him a bigger target for pick-off throws.
Baker also has pop, but has a “middle-away” approach at the plate and tries to spray the ball in the left-center and right-center field gaps. He does not pattern his swing after another hitter.
“It’s an originality thing,” says Baker. “You do what comes natural to you.”
On the mound, Baker and Logan are both “pitch to count” types who seldom overwhelm hitters.
“I don’t throw hard enough to just blow it by anyone,” says Logan. “I trust the coach’s call and rely on the defense to make the outs.”
The coach’s emphasis is on the controllable things and not just pitching control.
“It’s more about things like effort and energy, things we can control,” said Brabender. “There are very few things you have control over. You try to make a quality pitch and have a quality at-bat.”
Logan says he plans to study pre-dentistry at IPFW while Baker will pursue a degree in nursing.
By The Numbers
Through 18 games, here’s some numbers of Northridge High School senior baseball players Shannon Baker and Brock Logan:
Baker —- .431 batting average, 1.423 OPS (on-base plus slugging), 6 home runs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 26 runs batted in, 24 runs scored, 4-1, 2.24 earned run average.
Logan — .408, 1.267 OPS, 3 HR, 6 2B, 28 RBI, 0-1, 3.62 ERA.