POWHATAN – Earlier in that game at USC Upstate, Logan Amiss wasn’t finding success at the plate. His coach came up to him, said he looked like he was timid, and told him he needed to be aggressive and trust himself.
Amiss followed his coach’s advice on his next trip up to the plate – over which the opposing pitcher left a changeup.
He took a good swing at it.
When he returned to the dugout, the coach told Amiss: That’s more you…keep doing that…
…because Amiss had just landed his first career home run as a college baseball player.
He was far from done.
Playing in 34 of VCU Baseball’s 58 games this year – and starting in 19 of them – the designated hitter and catcher assembled a 27-hit, 23-RBI season as a true freshman.
“The confidence that the coaches had in me played a huge role in how I did this spring,” Amiss said. “Getting in there, I felt comfortable that they had trust in me to do that job and be in there multiple times throughout the year.”
Joining VCU on the heels of a successful high school senior season with Powhatan, Amiss during the fall – prior to the start of the regular season – impressed in his plate appearances while facing his own team’s pitchers. He noted that the coaches saw situations in which he could be inserted into the lineup.
And when he was put into the lineup in the early spring, Amiss had the opportunity to make something happen; when he did – notably in that Feb. 24 game at USC Upstate in which he homered for the first time – he kept getting more opportunities to hit for the Rams as his freshman season progressed.
His first 34 games in the collegiate landscape saw him bat .284 overall with 8 extra base hits. He peaked at .308 on April 3 when he hit his second career home run and scored twice at Longwood. The game before on March 31, Amiss batted 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs, 2 runs and a double against Davidson, and had early-season statlines of 3 RBIs apiece at UCF on March 15 and against VMI on March 26.
He homered for the third time in 2019 while facing Richmond in an April 20 doubleheader.
Amiss transitioned from winning season to winning season, as he went from helping his Powhatan varsity baseball team reach the 2018 state tournament – the first time the Indians had done so in his years there – to being a part of the VCU Rams winning the Atlantic 10 regular season championship and going 39-19 on the season.
“We became a close group really quickly and I thought we always had each other’s backs,” Amiss said. “We never gave up on each other…we knew that, whoever was on the mound or whoever was at the plate, was going to get the job done. We never really wavered off of that, and we just had confidence in each other – we had a certain trust because we were so close really quickly.”
The biggest change that Amiss observed from high school to college was the amount of time spent playing and practicing. The schedule was much tighter with a much heavier load of games, going from an average of 2 to 3 games a week to 4 and 5 a week. The starting pitcher from every team he and his team faced, he observed, was really, really solid – “maybe there was a few guys in high school that were like that, but it was: every day, you were facing one of their better guys – stuff that you don’t see every day in high school.”
And then there was the general thrill of playing at the Division I level.
“When you first get there, it’s like: ‘Man, I watched these people on TV,’” Amiss said, “and even some of the kids that we were playing against this year, I’ve seen on TV and heard about, and now you’re playing with them – some of them you’re beating and some of them you’re losing to.”
But the 2019 Rams were confident in their ability to win against anyone in the country, he said, and they showed that multiple times against teams like no. 6 North Carolina on Feb. 27 (11-8), UCF on March 16 (4-3), Richmond on April 20 (16-3) and Duke on May 5 (5-3).
“It just came back on our coaching and our abilities,” Amiss said. “We knew we were talented.”
And the reoccurring statements Amiss recalled hearing from his coaches – that they trusted the players, that they were proud of how they played and how they fought during games – really kept the team together and kept the team winning games.
Going into next season, Amiss is focused on elevating his defense so he can have another way besides DHing of getting into the lineup. He’s also focused on helping his Rams – which despite winning the regular season saw their year end early in the Atlantic 10 Tournament – meet the team goal of getting better and better with each season.
“Coach was really proud of our body of work and how we played in the regular season,” Amiss said. “It really was just unfortunate that a great body of work can come to an end that quickly.”
But the Rams know what they aspire to be, he added, and they know what they’re going to have in the future.
“For me – for some of the younger kids on the team – we got a taste of what a good season looks like and what we need to mimic in the future for us to have good regular seasons” – Amiss said – “and maybe what we need to do differently in the postseason.”