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April 23, 2024

Big Time Pitcher

Clark lights up record book 

at Spring Hill

By Andy Collier

Sports Editor, The Bolivar Bullet

Former Bayou Academy standout Logan Clark recently finished an impressive run pitching on the collegiate level for the Spring Hill College Badgers at Mobile, Ala. 

In his four years at Spring Hill, the  Cleveland native and former Bayou Academy standout overcame two major injuries to become a two-time All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection and was the top pitcher on a team that won back-to-back SIAC Championships in 2022 and 23. In his career at the school, he pitched in 36 games with 31 starts and posted an impressive career record of 18-7. He gave up 143 hits and struck out 161 batters with only 61 walks in 154.1 innings of work. Clark is the school’s career leader in wins and strikeouts in the NCAA Division II era which began in 2015. Before going to Division II, Spring Hill played in the Southern States Athletic Conference in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Clark felt blessed when looking back on his career at Spring Hill.  

“This biggest thing that comes to mind was through out all the injuries, losses and everything the team went through, I can look back on my time in college baseball and say I have no regrets,” said Clark. “I left everything out on the field and in practice. I have no regrets with the way everything went.”

This past year was Clark’s best overall season as he went 7-2 with a team-leading 2.54 ERA in 13 starts to earn first team All-SIAC. The year for him had its share of adversity. At one point in the season, Clark noticed something was wrong with his arm when he pitched against Kentucky State on March 26. After pitching against Morehouse on April 14, he went to the doctor and found out he had a partial tear in his UCL. He was faced with the decision on what he wanted to do about the injury as he decided not to have surgery. 

“The doctors left it up to me on what I wanted to do because I was a senior, and it was my last year,” said Clark. “I talked with our trainers, the doctors and my coach. We went and talked, and I wanted to pitch. I had to miss two starts because I was trying to let it rest a little bit and let the inflammation go down, so that maybe it would feel a  little better.”

The issues with his injury was the main factor in Clark not being able to pitch on senior day. 

“On the day I was supposed to pitch on senior day, it was raining,” said Clark. “The tear originally happened on a day where it was raining. I threw a ball, and it slipped out of my hand. That’s when the injury happened. I told my coach I want what’s best for the team, and I don’t feel safe throwing because of the rain.”

Even though he missed his senior day, Clark was ready for the postseason as he made his final two starts in May. He gave up just two runs on two hits in seven innings of work in Spring Hill’s 3-2 win over Albany State in the semifinals of the SIAC Tournament on May 6. Clark pitched against Tampa in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament on May 18 and gave up six runs, three earned, in four innings of work in a game that resulted in a loss. 

When Clark played high school ball at Bayou Academy, he was instrumental in the Colts winning the District 1-3A championship and advancing to the 3A State Semifinals. Clark played high school ball under then head coach Will Reed. 

Clark said Reed was instrumental in developing his mindset as a player. 

“I played with him for four years, and I think being mentally tough is one thing I learned the most from him,” said Clark. “He was the one that kind of factored in the decision the most to actually pitch after I found out (about the injury). I think he was the first person that I called, and we talked over the phone and discussed the options and everything.”

Clark was thankful for the training staff at Spring Hill during this year. 

“I have to give credit to the trainers,” said Clark. “We really couldn’t do therapy on it, so they came up with a way that would keep my nerve in place. Without the tendon there, the nerve could just move around to go over the elbow. They came up with a way to put a pad in the crease of my elbow. They wrapped it up to where that nerve couldn’t move. My arm could move to the length of the way I would go back toward pitching. It ended up working out perfectly the way they did it. I could not throw at all without that pad being there.”  

Spring Hill College Head Coach Walker Bullington was a volunteer assistant coach under previous skipper Frank Sims when Clark first came to the school in 2020. Walker returned to the college to be the head coach after serving two years as Rend Lake College’s Head Baseball Coach. 

Clark felt comfortable under Bullington’s leadership. 

“We were really close when he was first there,” said Clark. “When he came back, it felt like we didn’t miss a beat. It was good to have him back.”

Clark said Bullington gave Clark good guidance while he was making his decision to pitch after the injury. 

“He let me make my own decision,” said Clark. “It wasn’t forced, and he didn’t make me go out and pitch in pain. He checked in on me everyday and asked how it felt. We’d seat down and talk at least twice a week or maybe more and talk about where we were at throwing and if I thought I could go. At the end of the day, I think he knew my answer before I knew my answer that I was going to pitch before the end of that season.”

The first couple of years for Clark at Spring Hill were very trying for him. His first year was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When Clark was getting ready for the 2021 season, he broke a bone in his wrist in the fall which forced him to have surgery. He had to have a medical red-shirt for 2021 as he pitched only three innings in three games that year. 

He was able to rebound in 2022 as he went 9-3 with one save and a 3.60 ERA in 15 games (13 starts). Those numbers were good enough to earn him second team All-SIAC. The nine wins are a school record in the Division II era. One huge moment that came for Clark was at that beginning of the year as he pitched the first four innings of a combined no-hitter with three other pitchers on Feb. 5 when Spring Hill defeated Southeastern Baptist College 16-0 at Mobile. Clark struck out nine of the 15 batters he faced and walked three. He threw 65 pitches. 

“It was the second game of the year,” said Clark. “It was at the beginning of the season. I remember having those first game jitters like everybody does. We were ready to get out there and play. We’ve been preparing for this for four or five months. The biggest thing with that one is trusting the coaches, my catcher and the defense behind me. I just threw the pitches, and everybody else did the rest of the work for me. It was a fun one to be apart of. I tried to convince the coaches to keep letting me go. I knew my pitch count was low. I was wanting to go out there and finish it, but I think my coaches made the best call for taking me out for health purposes. At the end of the season, I think everyone was happy the way that year turned out.”  

Another part of his college career that Clark was thankful for is the fact he played two years at MDCC before going to Spring Hill.

“The game was faster, and it was tougher,” said Clark. “It really made you grow up fast.”

At Spring Hill, he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management with a minor in supply chain management. He is also currently coaching a 15-year-old baseball summer team called the Louisiana Knights. 

Clark has been exploring his options on what he wants to do after college, but he is looking to give himself a break for the time being. 

“We’ve been looking, but I’ve been enjoying coaching this summer and letting the body rejuvenate from another long season,” said Clark. “I don’t think my body has as the chance to fully recover in quite sometime since being in college.”