Goodnight aims for USA baseball spot

The Linsly School began classes on Wednesday for the 2013-14 school year.

There was one noticeable absence, however.

Junior Logan Goodnight wasn’t present for class, but he had a very good excuse.

The standout baseball player, who is committed to Penn State University, is in North Carolina trying to earn a spot on USA Baseball’s National Team Identification Series.

Goodnight, and his father, Scott, left the Ohio Valley on Sunday.

Prior to the tryout, which runs through Sunday, Goodnight took part in a pair of games against Taipei China’s 18U National Team as part of the 17U Mid-Atlantic Region squad.

“I received a text message that I wasn’t expecting,” Scot Goodnight said. “Mid Atlantic Coach Jeff Schaefer wanted to know if Logan wanted to represent the team.”

When Scot approached Logan, there wasn’t a second of hesitation that he accepted the invitation.

“I have been blessed to be able to play baseball all over the country, but I have never had an opportunity to play against international competition, so it was a great experience,” Logan Goodnight said.

As for the tryout, Logan was has experience in the NTIS. He was one of 18 players selected for the Capital Region last season. This try-out process helps USA Baseball choose player for its 40-man roster, which will be trimmed to 20 before international competition.

Goodnight was one of 700 players to take part in the NTIS in 2013.

“Last year was a great experience for me,” Logan said. “The competition was intense and being at USA’s National Training Center was unbelievable. I’m really looking forward to trying to make the 40-man roster.”

The Linsly standout, who helped guide the Cadets to the OVAC Class 3A title in May, earned a spot at the tryout as a representative of the Mid-Atlantic Region, which is made up of players from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

Since he’s from West Virginia, Goodnight needed special permission to go that route. He wanted to see how he stacked up against players from the states that comprise the SEC and ACC, which are obviously fertile hotbeds of baseball talent.

“Several of the players going through the tryouts have committed or have offers from those (SEC or ACC) schools,” Goodnight said.

“I have played against a lot of those players, so I knew the competition for a middle infield spot would be difficult, but I gave it everything I had.”

Goodnight’s hardwork paid dividends. He was one of 18 to tryout for a spot in the middle infield and one of three chosen. To get to this point in the process, there were two levels of tryouts. One was held in North Carolina and the other at the University of Tennessee.

It’s been a busy summer of baseball for Goodnight. He’s played for U.S. Elite Baseball, which is based in Altoona. The team played played in the Perfect Game 2016/16U National Championships in Atlanta.

“There were 296 teams from around the country in the tournament,” Goodnight said. “We finished 8-1 and made it to the final 16, so it was a great run.”

Goodnight shined individually in the event. He batted .458 (11-for 24), played shortstop and earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

One aspect of Goodnight’s game that’s significantly improved has been his speed.

“I am being trained by (Shadyside native) Josh Pyles at the Total Athlete in Triadelphia,” Goodnight said. “Coach Pyles has taken my strength and speed training to another level. He use to train pro athletes at IMG Academy, so the workouts are intense. He’s constantly changing my exercises and targeting my strengths and weaknesses.”

Goodnight also expressed his appreciation for his parents, Scot and Lisa.

“They’ve been so supportive of my trying to reach my goals,” Logan said. “My dad works with me every day. He’s my toughest critic, but also my biggest fan. I am truly blessed with the opportunities I have been given and the people who have supported me.”

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com