For Logan McClure, Harrisonburg is a Home Away From Home

Monday, June 27, 2022

Shelton Moss

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Collegiate summer baseball teams see massive roster turnover year after year. After playing with a team for one season, players will typically find a new organization or move on to the next chapter of their life.

But for Harrisonburg pitcher Logan McClure, the experience he made pitching for the Turks last summer left him with no choice but to run it back for year two.

“It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made,” McClure said.

McClure’s debut season with the Turks was highly successful. He made six starts, recording a 3.82 ERA over 33 innings with a team-high 37 strikeouts. This year, he has pitched to a microscopic 0.67 ERA in 13 ⅓ innings, which is no small feat against the quality competition in the Valley Baseball League.

“When I got here, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a big jump in talent level,’” McClure noted. “I knew I had to work hard because I didn’t throw as hard as these kids, and I wasn’t as talented. But I value myself on hard work and dedication.”

McClure hails from Hurricane, W.Va., a small town of 6,000 residents nestled in the heart of the Kanawha Valley, just west of Charleston and about 20 miles from the Ohio border. Baseball is very popular in the area, and McClure developed a passion for the game at a young age.

“As a little kid, I always wanted to have a baseball in my hand,” McClure said. “I was always throwing a ball. Throughout my life, baseball is my one passion and love.”

McClure went on to have a standout career as a pitcher and third baseman for Hurricane High School, playing under head coach Brian Sutphin. As a senior in 2018, he threw 35 innings on the mound while doubling as the team’s starting third baseman, guiding the team to a state championship in 2018.

His efforts certainly did not go unnoticed on the recruiting circuit, as several Division II schools in the state of West Virginia reached out to him. Ultimately, it was West Virginia Tech that stood out the most, thanks in large part to its strong academics.

“West Virginia Tech had a really good engineering program and that’s what I wanted to pursue,” McClure said. “I was good at math and science, and knew that engineering was something that I liked to do. With the degrees they give out, that made me realize Tech was a perfect fit for me.”

It also helped that McClure had a connection with WVU Tech head coach Lawrence Nesselrodt, a longtime staple of baseball in the Mountain State. Nesselrodt coached Sutphin back in the 1990s when he was at Davis and Elkins College, a sliver of his 30-year tenure as a head baseball coach.

“Coach Sutphin told me how well [Nesselrodt] treated his players, and what a great person he was,” McClure said. “He’s a top notch man. He tries to make his players better men.”

But he also made McClure a better player, too. This past season, the 22-year-old became a full-time starter for the first time in his career, pitching a career-high 62.0 innings for the Golden Bears. He posted a 4.79 ERA that was nearly two runs lower than the previous year, earning a Second Team All-River States Conference selection in the process.

“I feel like getting starts in a well-renowned league like the Valley League made me a better pitcher, and just keeping my head down and working tirelessly to become a better player,” McClure added. “I was also a two-year team captain at WVU Tech, and I felt like the team needed me to go out every weekend and give them all I had to get us as many wins as possible.”

McClure was first recruited to the Turks by Luke Scherzer, a four-year player at Virginia Tech who pitched for Harrisonburg in 2018 and served as the team’s pitching coach the following season. When Scherzer got to see the young right-hander pitch, he came away highly impressed.

“I got to meet Luke in the fall of 2019, and threw a few bullpens,” McClure recalled. “He pulled me aside and said, ‘How would you like to come play for the Turks?’”

Soon enough, Scherzer gave a call to Turks’ head coach Bob Wease, and a contract was signed. McClure was set to pitch for Harrisonburg in the summer of 2020.

But that opportunity never came. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 Valley League baseball season, sending players back home or to play elsewhere. McClure decided to return to the Beach Collegiate Baseball League in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

However, Wease’s offer was still on the table, and McClure signed another contract in the fall of 2020 to play for the Turks the following summer. He’s thankful he made that decision.

“I fell in love with Harrisonburg as soon as I got here,” McClure said. “The way Bob and Teresa [Wease] treat us, having food ready for us after games, giving us nice apartments. Bob treats us like his own kids. That’s one thing I can be thankful for. He would do anything for anybody.”

McClure is not the only Golden Bear spending his summer in the Friendly City. Doug Pollock is one of two new assistant coaches for the Turks this year, having graduated from WVU Tech in 2021 and served as an assistant under Nesselrodt this past season.

Pollock has seen first-hand the growth of McClure as a player and person.

“When I first met Logan, it was his first year at Tech,” Pollock said. “As time went on, I got to know him very well. He’s a very hardworking individual. When I was playing, I didn’t want to play behind any other pitcher because of how hard he worked on the mound and how competitive he was.”

McClure graduated from WVU Tech with a degree in civil engineering. Because Tech does not have a graduate school, he will transfer to Fairmont State and play out his final two years of eligibility. McClure aims to earn a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on project management. His efforts in the classroom are equally a reflection of those on the baseball diamond.

“Fairmont is going to get one of the most hardworking individuals they’ll ever have in that program,” Pollock said of his former teammate. “He’s just a hell of a kid.”