TUSCOLA — Suddenly the prospect of not playing baseball for at least a calendar year is a reality that Logan Tabeling has to face.
Every spring and summer has been a time for baseball for Tabeling, a senior pitcher for the Warriors. He grew up around the program, first as a ball boy and now as the team's ace pitcher who is committed to Division I Wright State next season. He dazzled at state as a sophomore with 14 strikeouts in 7.2 innings pitched in a semifinals loss. Last season he was 9-0 with a 1.27 ERA, striking out out 126 in 60.2 innings of work.
This season, he and the rest of the Warriors wait to see if they have a season, which would begin in May as a result of schools being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tabeling's summer season is in jeopardy, too.
“I’m just kind of really hoping we get something," Tabeling said. "I’ve been playing baseball my whole life, every spring and every summer, and who knows if we even get to play in the summer? I could go a whole year without baseball and that’d be miserable for me. That’s my favorite sport, I love it and I’ve been doing it my whole life. Without having it, it’s going to be hard to adjust."
Tabeling's family owns a facility in Tolono where he can go to throw and take at-bats, which he's been going to between four and five days a week in addition to riding his bike and doing work around the house to supplement his school work.
He's not throwing off the bullpen mound in an attempt to prevent any arm trouble with the potential beginning of the season in limbo. Instead, he's hitting, playing long toss with his dad and keeping his arm loose.
“I don’t even know how to explain what’s going on right now," Tabeling said. "It’s unreal. I never thought I’d live my senior year in my house."
Senior Lucas Kresin is also committed to play baseball in college, at the University of Illinois-Springfield, but still has eyes on his senior season. Both Tabeling and Kresin have a home for the next four seasons, but each mentioned teammates Max Wyninger and Ryan Bartley as players who could use their senior season to get the attention of college scouts.
Schools in the state are closed until at least May 1 and the IHSA still hopes to play a truncated season of spring sports, but recognizes that another postponement wouldn't help the hope of a season.
“Just trying to stick to what we do," Kresin said. "Obviously we can’t have big groups. I have this Driveline program with weighted balls at home. I’m trying to hit wherever and I’ve been lifting and trying to stay in shape. Hopefully we’ll get that notification that we can play, but I don’t really know right now. I’m trying to keep that out of my mind and focusing on the pros right now."
The Warriors lost to eventual Class 2A state runner-up Pleasant Plains in last season's super-sectional, marking the second year in a row that Tuscola played in a super-sectional. The Warriors have plenty of pitching, which coach Adam Carver knows can go a long way in high school baseball, and enough offense even with the graduation of Brayden VonLanken and Cade Kresin.
They had aspirations of another deep postseason run this year.
“In high school baseball, you can pitch it so you’ve got a pretty good chance of being successful," Carver said.
Tabeling is waiting with the hopes of playing this season. The Warriors missed their annual trip to Carbondale for a three-game stretch they consider important in team bonding. It's a big hit, but they can recover from it.
If Tabeling gets the chance to play this season, he's ready to unleash his change-up and prove he's more than a two-pitch pitcher.
"I could have done even better last season," Tabeling said. "I'm throwing harder and have more control. I added change-up, and I haven’t ever had it. ... That could have proved something," Tabeling said.
As if there's anything left to prove.
PHOTOS: Tuscola beats St. Teresa last season
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Contact Joey Wagner at (217) 421-6970. Follow him on Twitter: @mrwagner25
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