Considering Clever coach Justin Snider’s passion for calling pitches, there wasn’t much bigger of a compliment he could have given catcher Logan Peebles last year than to hand that duty to him.
Few high school coaches allow their catcher to call pitches. Snider had Peebles do so as a junior and again this year.
“I’’m a little bit of a control freak when it comes to calling pitches,” Snider said. “But I trust him enough to take care of the job.”
Peebles doesn’t take for granted the respect his coach has for him to assign him such a responsibility.
“It shows the relationship we have between us,” he said.
Peebles takes an analytical approach to calling for a fast ball, curve ball, changeup or slider and whether he wants it across the middle of the plate or on the inside or outside corners.
“You’ve got to base everything on the batter,” Peebles said. “If you think a batter is going to hit something, you’ve got to go with something else. It doesn’t always work. But you’ve got to go with what you think will work.”
“There are times where I would have called for something different,” Snider said. ‘We’ll talk about it in the dugout and usually he has justification for why he called the pitch he did. I’m not going to get into a debate with him. He’s smart and sees stuff with hitters he thinks could be a weakness that can be exploited. You don’t have a lot of high school catchers who can understand, based on how a kid is swinging and stepping, where the holes in their swing are.
“He’s got a great memory,” Snider added. “He can remember things from previous at-bats. He has a photographic memory on what kids have done and how to pitch to them.”
Opponents are having an incredibly tough time pitching to Peebles. Clever’s 4-2 start has seen him compile a .769 batting average with one home run and eight RBIs. Combine his 10 hits with nine walks in 23 plate appearances and it adds up to an .826 on-base percentage.
Peebles, who has played summer ball with the Arkansas Express, Rawlings Tigers and White Brothers, will continue his career past Clever at Mineral Area.
“Their catcher (Arkansas State signee Liam Hicks) is tied for the lead in the nation in home runs," Peebles said. “So, I’m stepping into some fairly big shoes. I’ll try to do enough to fill them.”
Peebles likes the possibilities going the juco route could present him. He’s familiar with the process, with his older brother Koby playing at Crowder before going on to Missouri State. Koby graduated from Clever in 2009.
“My brother went to Crowder and got some really big offers,” Logan said. “He played with (Yankees first baseman) Luke Vogt at Missouri State.”
Peebles’ place behind the plate at Clever will be taken over next year by Tanner Bradshaw, a sophomore who Snider says already would be a starting catcher at most schools. Bradshaw is hitting .400 with six RBIs.
“It leaves me reassured that when I leave here I’m not leaving them with nothing,” Peebles said.
As for the rest of this season, he’s optimistic the Jays will prove to be contenders in the Mid-Lakes Conference and Class 3 District 11 to be played at Fair Grove.
“I expect it to be a good year,” Peebles said. "I’m not going to make predictions. But I think this will probably be the best team I’ve played on here.”