Hankins takes road to Alice Lloyd to continue his baseball career
PEDRO — It was the legendary Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra who once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
Logan Hankins was on the road to college football when he came to a fork in the road. But in this case, he knew what was waiting at the end of each road.
The Rock Hill Redmen senior athletic standout said he actually started talking with Muskingum University and Wittenberg University about playing football. But then that fork in the road popped up in his path.
“When baseball came around, I went and visited (Alice Lloyd) and had a workout and I loved the campus, I loved the coaches and I just loved the overall area. It just felt like home. It felt just like a Rock Hill,” said Hankins.
“I go to Rock Hill. I’m a country boy and that’s just how that campus was. It was just a win for me.”
Hankins made it a win for his future as he signed a letter-of-intent to play for the Eagles.
Hankins was a first team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection last season and first team All-Southeast District.
He pitched the team to the district semifinals last season but had to leave the game in the 8th inning due to the mandatory pitch count.
The Eagles’ coaching staff was very impressed with the Hankins’ pitching but he believes he’ll also play second base and shortstop along with pitching.
“I just want to play,” he said.
Eagles’ assistant coach David Hatfield said Hankins made an outstanding first impression when he worked out for the coaching staff.
“The biggest thing I see with him right now with the situation with COVID is all our spring sports were canceled, so all our kids were able to get an extra year of eligibility,” said Hatfield.
“I can see for him to come in and be a relief guy for us on varsity. He’s got a great arm. When he came in and worked out for us his fastball was good, he had a really good breaking ball, and when I saw him I said, ‘This guy can help us.’ If he comes in and produces, he can help us. I had a really good first impression of him and I was really excited about it.
“We lost some arms and we had some seniors who decided not to come back. In the long run, pitching is our biggest thing. So, when all this came down, we had to find some pitching. Logan came in and it worked out to have the kind of quality arm that he has that can help us out.”
Hankins is a three-sport standout who also played football and basketball.
He ran for more than 1,000 yards but then broke his back in his sophomore year and then broke his thumb this past season.
“I’m going to have back problems the rest of my life. I can’t even sit in a desk or lay in a bed for a long period of time without it starting to ache. I feel like an old man already,” said Hankins with a chuckle.
The Eagles are a NAIA program and members of the River States Conference along with Rio Grande, Asbury, Brescia, Carlow, Indiana-East, Indiana-Kokomo, Indiana-Southeast, Midway, Ohio Christian, Point Park and West Virginia Tech.
Hankins’ cousin Seth Nichols plays for Ohio Christian University.
“Seth is a catcher. He’s a year above me,” said Hankins. “We’re a close family. We’ll get on each other, but it’s all fun.”
Hankins said he is fortunate to have the opportunity to play college baseball, especially after the disappointment of missing his senior season when spring sports were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everything happens for a reason. I try not to stress myself out with something I can’t control. I’m trying to stay positive,” said Hankins.
“I am going off to college and I am going to play baseball and some of my teammates will never play the game of baseball again. Safety is above everything else and I understand that as much as it hurts.”
The Eagles have seven seniors — five of whom are pitchers — and several fourth-year juniors who are all expected to graduate and won’t return even if given an extra year due to the Coronavirus.
Hatfield said they have no problem with Hankins looking to be a two-way player. However, he said the landscape of the program changed when the coronavirus caused the cancellation of all spring sports.
“With everything going on, a lot can change. As far as with him hitting and us returning a lot of starters back, he’ll probably be a guy who plays jayvee so that he can hit, he can play a position, but as far as varsity he’ll be a guy on the mound,” said Hatfield.
“Now, with that being said, that could change because he could come in and win a spot. If he does, great. That’s what we want. We give all our guys a chance. If you want to be a two-way player, go right ahead. If you can hit, that’s what we want. That’s what we see with Logan and working at two spots. But when it comes down to crunch time, unless we see something different, we see him as a pitcher on the mound for us and he could really help us.”
Hankins plans to work hard and prove he can be a two-way player.
“I’m going to work my tail off and get better every day and prove that I’m better than just OVC and I’m better than just playing around here,” he said.
Hankins plans to major in Criminal Justice but he said it’s not etched in granite.
“That’s the plan right now, but I’m sure that once I get there and see all the other opportunities my mind will change a couple of times,” said Hankins.
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