The scene was set for the University of Virginia baseball team and senior catcher Logan Michaels, a 2016 DeForest graduate, after jumping out to a 14-4 record. The Cavaliers were poised to make a run at an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) title and appearance in the NCAA World Series, while Michaels was on pace for a special season.
The dream season ended abruptly with the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA canceled all spring sports for the rest of the year.
“It is very disappointing,” Michaels said. “We didn’t play much of our schedule, but we were showing good signs as a team. I thought we were going to be a tough team at the end of the season, but then it all collapsed. Having the season cancelled sucks but it hurts even worse knowing the team we had and that this group may never play together again. We had a strong brotherhood.”
Michaels and the Cavaliers were on their way to Pittsburg for an ACC series with the Panthers when the possibility of canceling the season became a reality.
“We were on the bus and everybody was on twitter when we heard that they were starting to cancel things,” Michaels said. “Some of the smaller conferences were canceling, but it became more serious when the Ivey League and SEC started cancelling their seasons. We knew we probably would be next.”
Once the NCAA announced it was canceling the World Series, the Virginia coaching staff had to break it to Michaels and his teammates that the season was over and they were heading home.
“We had a little hope that maybe something would change after some time, but the coaches said that was slim,” Michaels said. “Seeing that the professional leagues put their seasons on hold, we knew it was not good.”
When the Cavaliers got back to Charlottesville there were a couple of team meetings and a dinner before the university sent all students home.
“We had one last get together where we had a driving contest at the golf course down the road and a team dinner,” Michaels said. “We didn’t know this would be the last time we would be together, so we did not get a chance to say goodbye to everybody before we went home. It has been very emotional.”
Michaels, who played two years for Madison College, was having a great second season with Virginia. He played in all 18 games and made 17 starts.
Michaels finished the season batting .316 with 17 runs, 16 RBIs, six doubles and a home run. Defensively, he did not have an error and threw out three base stealers.
“I felt great about my season,” Michaels said. “Toward the back half of the 18 games, I started to figure things out. I was looking forward to finishing out the season, but it is what it is.”
The NCAA is allowing schools to grant another year of eligibility to all spring athletes, so Michaels may have a chance to come back next year. But, he also may have an opportunity to be taken in the up-coming Major League Baseball Draft.
“I’m in a pretty good position right now,” Michaels said. “We will wait and see what happens with the draft because I have had a good number of scouts calling me. But, we are going to have a good team next year and I would be excited to come back if it doesn’t work out with the draft.”
Michaels has been working out at home during the Safer-at-Home order in preparation for the draft or any potential baseball opportunities. He has a batting cage set up in the back yard and his dad has been throwing him batting practice.
“One of the great things to come out of this is getting a chance to hit BP with my dad,” Michaels said. “I didn’t know if that would every happen again.”
Major League Baseball is still working on setting a date and parameters for the draft. It could be shortened to as little as five rounds instead of the usual 40 rounds.
“They may shorten the draft to five or 10 rounds. I feel good if there are 10 rounds. I could have a chance,” Michaels said.
Michaels would be the first former Norski to ever get drafted.
Until his future becomes clearer, Michaels will continue to prepare at home.
“I’m going to stay in the best shape I can,” Michaels said. “I look at this as a big opportunity to work on things and get stronger. I want to stay positive about the whole situation.”