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COACH OF THE YEAR | Logue molded Wolves into a championship contender
2012: Todd Olson
2011: Mark Lutzenhiser
2010: Chad Nass
2009: Michael Krug
2008: Jim Fairweather
2007: Chad Nass
2006: Eric Bergeson
2005: John Callaghan
2004: Eric Bergeson
It is not always easy to inherit a senior-laden roster as athletes sometimes can be resistant to change.
But that never was an issue for first-year baseball coach Marcus Logue.
Behind his direction, the Wolves finished with a 21-6 record — their most wins in a decade — and were the Class 4A state champion runner-up. Logue also managed those feats without his most decorated player, future University of Washington left-handed pitcher Kellen Traxel, who was sidelined most of the season with an injured triceps muscle in his pitching arm.
For those reasons, Logue was selected as the Port Orchard Independent’s Coach of the Year.
“I attribute the success for this whole season … to what we did during the offseason,” Logue said. “We met and set up the expectations for all of our guys. They bought in and worked hard.”
Outfielder Tom Simpson, a senior who plans to play football next fall at Spokane’s Whitworth University, said he appreciated the approach Logue used when he took over the program. Logue became just the Wolves’ third coach in 38 seasons.
“He didn’t try and come in and recreate a whole new program,” Simpson said. “But he also put his own touch on the program.”
It was not always easy, though. After dominating their nonleague opponents en route to a 4-0 start, South won just two of its first five games in 4A Narrows League play.
Simpson said Logue deserves credit for helping the team recover from their tough start. While he focused on details, such as situational hitting, Simpson said the Wolves never felt pressured to produce.
“He’s a guy I look up to a lot,” he said. “He has a great personality.”
South closed out the regular season with victories in eight of its last nine contests. The winning continued into the 4A Narrows Tournament, where the Wolves took first place, before their eight-game win streak ended with a 9-3 setback May 11 in the West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament title game against Puyallup.
“What I loved about this team is they never got too high or too low,” Logue said. “After victories they always celebrated within reason. They never were satisfied with where they were at.”
Behind standout senior right-handed pitchers Josh Johnston and Michael Wood, South recovered to defeat both Jackson and Woodinville during the May 18 regional tournament at Kent Memorial. The Wolves then advanced to their first state title game since 2003 when they defeated defending state champion Kentwood, 1-0, May 24 in Pasco.
While Logue, who played catcher when Port Townsend won a 2A state title in 2004, was reticent to make playoff predictions entering the season, he felt South had an opportunity to play for a championship as the postseason approached. Logue said the players set a goal to play in the title game entering the season even though the Wolves did not qualify for the state tournament in 2012.
“I started to realize as we got closer and closer that they were on the verge of achieving that goal,” he said. “It’s a huge testament to the kids and how hard they worked.”
The Wolves’ run finally ended when they lost 8-5 in a game marred by a season-high nine errors against Skyview.
“It was an ugly game,” Logue said. “It was rough.”
That was not the only difficult aspect of his spring. Logue received notice that his position was being eliminated as the South Kitsap School District cuts 57 teaching positions in an effort to reduce its deficit. Despite that, he plans to return next year.
“I’ll do whatever I can to be able to teach and coach the kids of South Kitsap,” Logue said. “I’m invested in this community.”
That means he will continue to search for the program’s fourth state baseball championship.
“I’m definitely not satisfied,” Logue said. “I feel we have a lot of work to do.”