By STEVE KRAH
The two have been teammates since they were 12.
They’ve worn the same uniform with the Michiana Scrappers, Bristol American Legion Post 143 and Northridge High School in Middlebury, where they played for coach Andrew Brabender and graduated in 2013.
The pair have brought left-handed pop to the middle of the lineup.
But that’s not all.
“Those are two guys that work hard on the baseball field and in the weight room,” says Mastodons head coach Bobby Pierce. “They’re excellent students who are graduating. They are really model student-athletes.
“As a baseball coach, you worry about your players. You are responsible for them. When you can have guys who can do all the right things and have intrinsic motivation, it makes my job a lot easier. I’m going to miss them a lot.”
Pierce says he has enjoyed watching Baker and Logan — who were roommates their first three years of college — grow together and individually.
“There is a connection there that is very deep and sincere,” says Pierce. “They care for each other.
“We don’t officially have captains on this team, but they are. The cream rises to the top. On the position player side, they do the right thing, lead by example and they’re vocal as well.”
Says Logan, “We know each others’ abilities and we know we can rely on each other.”
When Baker and Logan arrived in Fort Wayne, the program was full of veterans and was winning games.
“From our mindset, I didn’t want to burn a year and have Shannon and Brock each get 10 at-bats (as true freshmen),” says Pierce. “So we redshirted them in a strategic move and it really paid off. They’ve been four-year starters in our program. I’m so happy to have them this year versus having them graduate last year.”
Baker, who batted in the No. 3 hole and split his time at first base and third base Tuesday, May 8 at Purdue, leads Fort Wayne in games played and starts (40 and 38) and walks (32) and is second in batting average (.302), hits (38), runs batted in (19) and multi-hit games (11), third in doubles (7) and tied for fourth in total bases (47).
Logan, who was in the fifth spot at designated hitter Tuesday and has played in 34 games (32 starts), is hitting .258 with nine runs batted in. He is first on the squad in being hit by a pitch (10) and second in walks (21). He has seven multi-hit games.
With Fort Wayne traveling to Fargo, N.D., for a three-game Summit League series at North Dakota State, Baker and Logan will miss Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne commencement Wednesday, May 9. Baker has earned a criminal justice degree with a minor in organizational leadership while Logan’s diploma is for business marketing.
Shannon, the son of John and Sara Baker and sibling of Shawn Baker and Samantha Baker, has a number of law enforcement officers — active or retired — in his family. Among those are his father, father David Baker and cousins Scott Weaver and Jeff Weaver.
“I’m going to keep on playing as long as I can,” says Shannon of his immediate post-college plans. “If not, I’ll go back home and try to get on the police force.”
Brock, the son of Mike and Karin Logan and older brother of Nicholas Logan, has already accepted a job with Federated Insurance — a connection he made through interview classes.
“It just seemed like an awesome fit and a great opportunity,” says Logan, who expects to train in Minnesota and then work near home in northern Indiana as a insurance salesman and business advisor.
Long bus rides and plenty of hotel time has allowed Fort Wayne players to become close.
“You get to bond with the team and you get to see a side of somebody you might not if you’re at school and separate from each other,” says Baker, who counts a tour of Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park — home of the College World Series — as one of his favorite memories from the road.
Logan, who took time off from baseball during his college summers while working on farms and spending time with family, reflects on what he’s learned about baseball and himself the past five years.
“The time goes by real fast,” says Logan. “It’s a game of failure. You can’t let the little things get to you. There’s always another day of baseball. There’s always another opportunity. You just go play your game.
“Toward the end of my junior year and into my senior year, I just started playing for fun and not worry about anything. You don’t look at stats, you just go do ‘you’ and the results will happen.”
Baker, who also played a high school summer with the Indiana Chargers and has played during his college summers with the Syracuse (N.Y.) Salt Cats (where he has been used as a catcher), Hamilton (Ohio) Joes and in Morganton N.C., expresses gratitude for the patience shown by Fort Wayne coaches while he figured out some of the finer points of the game.
“My freshman year, they’d tell me something and it would take awhile,” says Baker. “Now, it goes right away.”
“I’ve improved by getting to know the game a little bit better than I did in high school. Coaches have helped me improve my game mentally and adjust to situations. That’s really helped me along the way.
“It comes with maturity and time.”
Baker and Logan finish their college careers May 15 at Ball State and May 17-19 at Mastodon Field against Oral Roberts.
Shannon Baker (above and below) is a redshirt senior for the Fort Wayne Mastodons and is a 2013 Northridge High School graduate. (Fort Wayne Mastodons Photos)
Brock Logan (above and below) is a redshirt senior for the Fort Wayne Mastodons and is a 2013 Northridge High School graduate. (Fort Wayne Mastodons Photos)