COLUMBIA — From atop the mound, Breanna Logan peered in for the sign, her eyes partially hidden behind a protective mask. Satisfied with the call, she set, reared back and delivered a pitch that sailed high out of the strike zone.
The ball deflected off the top of catcher Taylor McDannold’s oversized mitt, careening high off the fence behind her. That pitch, the first of the game, would not be a sign of things to come.
Rock Bridge (15-3)
vs. Warrensburg (9-6)
WHEN: 5 p.m.
WHERE: Rock Bridge High School
Far from it, in fact. Logan kept the ball low for the remainder of the game, forcing seven ground balls and striking out eight in Rock Bridge’s 10-0 home win over New Franklin. The sophomoreallowed two hits and one walk over six innings of work.
The result is evidence of how far Logan has come.
At the age of 11, Logan was hit in the face with a ball while pitching, resulting in a broken orbital bone and some apprehension about the prospect of pitching again.
After the injury, it took the pitcher a while to once again become comfortable at her position. Eventually, though, she overcame that fear.
“It was definitely hard to come back,” Logan said. “You’re always a little bit more cautious, but I think I’ve bounced back pretty well.”
Now, Logan might duck a little lower than most when her catcher throws over her head to second base. But other than that, a protective mask she wears on the mound is the only evidence of the injury that once shook her confidence.
And after years of wearing the headgear, Logan has become accustomed to unusual looks.
“It just comes naturally now. I don’t even feel the mask. It’s just there,” Logan said.
After facing that kind of adversity, overcoming mistakes on the mound doesn't seem as daunting. Rock Bridge coach Janel Twehous said Logan's ability to overcome her faults is a key to her success.
“She’s been around the ballpark, so she knows what to expect. She’s a good little pitcher,” Twehous said. “She had trouble hitting her spots tonight, but she got through it.”
Logan’s even-keeled demeanor on the mound stems partially from the team’s other starting pitcher, senior Lauren Fuller. Fuller, who delivered two doubles and four RBI in the win, said the two work off each other and try to keep each other focused on the game.
“We’ll talk to each other and try to help each other out, since we both have pitching mentalities,” Fuller said. “If she gets a little worked up or frustrated, I’ll go over and talk to her.”
Their ability to feed off each other and lend support has led to a friendship, as well as some healthy competition.
“We’re friends,” Fuller said. “We’ll see each other at school and say hi. But we definitely have friendly competition to make each other better on the mound, too.”
Mask and all, Logan and the rest of the Bruins (15-3) were too much for New Franklin on Monday night. However, Twehous stressed that the team isn’t blindly satisfied with the score.
“Was it a win? Yes, it was a win. But we still have things to work on,” Twehous said.
Logan, too, has things to work on going forward. But according to Twehous, one of the pitcher's strengths is her desire to improve.
“I think Breanna takes things away from everybody as a pitcher,” Twehous said. “She’s constantly learning. She’s constantly trying to make herself better.”