Logan Hood saw what it means to be an ace last year.
Every time LaGrange High’s Drew Moody was called upon last season, he came through, usually in dominant fashion.
Moody threw a couple of no-hitters, and he finished with an earned run average that barely registered.
Moody is now striking out batters for the University of Georgia baseball team, and in his absence, Hood is doing just fine as the ace of the LaGrange High pitching staff.
Hood, a senior right-hander, has pitched some of the Grangers’ biggest games this season, and he has usually delivered in a big way.
Most recently, Hood pitched a complete game to lead LaGrange to a 3-2 victory over Troup last week.
That was the win that ended up putting LaGrange in the state playoffs, one game ahead of Troup for the fourth and final playoff spot in Region 5-AAAA.
“Hood competed his guts out on the mound,” LaGrange coach Todd Herrington said after that game.
That was nothing new for Hood.
He has two shutout victories to his credit, one against Cartersville, and one against Shaw in the region opener.
Even in games where he ended up losing, Hood has kept the Grangers in the game.
Now, Hood will look to keep it going when the Grangers open the state playoffs on Friday at Northwest Whitfield.
Hood will get a start in one of the two games that day, and he’ll be ready for the moment.
“I love it,” Hood said of pitching in big games. “Everybody is looking for you to do something big, and then you do it. It just feels good. And you couldn’t do it without everybody else.”
The hard-throwing Hood has been pumping the ball into the strike zone all season, and he also believes the mental aspect of his game has improved since last year.
“From a mental standpoint, I’m tougher than I was last year,” Hood said. “Last year, Drew Moody was kind of the workhorse. This year, I had to take the load on like he did. I learned a lot from him last year.”
When Hood was a sophomore, the Grangers made it to the state quarterfinals, but they failed to qualify for the playoffs a year ago.
“It’s really exciting (to be back),” Hood said. “I was in the 10th grade, and I didn’t really get to play much, but we made it pretty far. I got to see how those guys did it. Hopefully we can make it as far as they did.”
Hood added that missing out on the playoffs “makes you hungrier. We want to keep working and make a run.”