PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry baseball has posted some amazing stats over the past three years, and a key part of that success will stay in the county.
Leadoff hitter Logan Sheets announced this week that he will attend Surry Community College and play for new head coach Shawn Hawk.
Sheets was a four-year starter starter on varsity and a two-time all-conference selection.
“He was able to provide a force at the top of the lineup” for years, said Chad Freeman, who just stepped up from assistant coach to head coach. “He’s not a power guy, but he will get on base and score runs,” the coach said, and Logan is a smart baserunner, too.
Those traits allowed Sheets to set two career marks at a school with a long tradition of excellence in the sport.
Coach Barry Hall, who just retired at the end of the season, won more than 700 career games, but he always said it because he had good players to coach.
Out of all the great players who have worn the Cardinal red, Sheets is the all-time leader in base hits and runs scored.
Hall said Chris Chilton was one of the best hitters he ever had, but Sheets broke his hits record even before the playoffs started. By the end of the playoff run, Sheets had 132 hits, considerably more than Chilton’s 113.
Sheets also broke Chilton’s record of 102 runs scored. He finished with 116.
This season alone, Sheets posted some impressive stats. He posted a .367 batting average. He hit seven doubles and two triples, drove in 22 RBIs, stole 11 bases and scored 31 runs.
Until the past couple of seasons, 31 runs would have been good enough to make the top 10 all-time list at East Surry. On a juggernaut team, however, 31 wasn’t even good enough to lead the Cards this year. Joshua Sawyers scored 35 runs and Tyler Marion 34.
Records have fallen like dominoes the past two seasons with the Cards going 81-10, including a school mark of 31 wins last season.
Tyler Marion finished his two years at East Surry with a remarkable feat. He set a record for best batting average and best pitching average.
On the mound, Marion had an ERA of 0.85. At the plate, he batted .427, just ahead of teammate Alec Wilson who is second in batting average (.399, just ahead of brother Drew at .394) and broke the record for RBIs with 83.
Logan’s records stem from two factors, according to Freeman. One, that he was good enough as a freshman to not only make the varsity team, but to start. Two, he did it well for a long time.
“It’s been an honor for sure to play for East Surry,” said Sheets, especially for a legendary coach like Barry Hall.
When he first arrived at East Surry, Sheets said he had heard all about Coach Hall’s feisty nature and demanding style.
Coach Hall actually was pretty laid back most of the time, he said, and when the coach did chew him out over something, Sheets knew he deserved.
Baseball is in Sheets’ blood. His father Rodney was a good baseball player in his own day and helped the varsity team during Logan’s tenure. A southpaw, Rodney often threw batting practice so the guys would get a chance to be familiar with a lefty.
Logan Sheets said he started playing ball at the age of four on a T-ball team. After playing basketball in a youth league and football in the seventh and ninth grades, the Pilot Mountain native gave up those other activities to focus on baseball.
During his prep career, Sheets said he has played second and third base, but mostly played left field and shortstop.
Logan was at short his senior year, but he likely will project more as an outfielder at the college level, said Freeman. He has the speed and arm to play left.
Sheets said he the outfield is probably his favorite spot, but he enjoyed being in the infield this season. With Tyler Marion and Tyler Smith on the mound, there weren’t many balls making it out to left field.
“You don’t see a lot of action when you’ve got dominant pitchers,” he said.
This summer he has played on an American Legion team out of Kernersville as Surry County hasn’t fielded a team in a few years. He said he has gotten to pitch some this summer, but he never could convince Coach Hall to let him throw at East Surry.
As for his favorite memory from these four years, Sheets said it definitely was getting to play for a state championship in 2014.
It is a rare experience to make the title round, even if the team did lose, he noted.
He thought the Cards might make it back this season, but the hitting fell off in the playoff loss.
Another cherished memory was getting to spend time with his older cousin Cameron Sheets during his first two seasons.
Cameron was someone he could talk to and learn from as a young athlete, plus it was great to spend time with his friend on road trips.
“It was a pleasure to have him in the program,” said Freeman. Logan is a high-energy guy who also gave maximum effort.
“He took care of business in the classroom, too,” said the coach. He kept that student part in the student-athlete.
Sheets was inducted into the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society.
Logan wasn’t the only Sheets to graduate this summer with lots of accolades. He said his two baseball records probably pale in comparison with his sister’s achievements in volleyball and softball.
Olivia Sheets was a four-year starter on a volleyball team that culminated with a trip to the championship series last November. As the team setter from day one, she broke every school mark for passing.
Olivia probably could have gotten a scholarship to attend college somewhere, but she wanted to attend UNC Charlotte, he said.
His sister had mentioned nursing as a possible major. Logan said he is interested in business administration.
He said he wants to have that business background to fall back on in case things don’t work out with his first choice, which is to pursue a career in the Highway Patrol.
But first, he’d like to try to break a few more records on the ol’ diamond.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.