By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Growing up in Tipton County, it’s unique that the baseball field at Houston High School is the home for a pair of special memories for the Rushing family.
On Dec. 9 in the Brighton High School Gymnasium Lobby, Logan Rushing had his moment in the spotlight inking his national letter of intent to The University of Memphis with is parents Melissa and George “Joe” Rushing by his side.
“It’s a pretty big day,” he said. “I’ve been working for it my whole life. So I’m just happy.”
Also present for the signing ceremony were his sister Chandler, uncle Greg Chandler, former coaches, current coach Brighton’s Ryan Wood, teammates, family and friends. The only person not physically in attendance was big brother Dalton.
“I grew up watching my brother play and I was like, ‘Hey I want to do this too,’” Logan said. “So I tried it and ended up loving it.
“Being left-handed kind of screwed me up for being behind the plate,” he continued. “Left-handed pitcher is always what everybody wants. So I gravitated toward it.”
The youngest Rushing child grew up with a big sister heading to a career in the medical field after graduating from UT-Martin. And his direct role model was his Dalton who developed into a Division I catcher signing to Louisville.
Wood had a chance to coach both Rushing brothers and said their achieve of both signing Division I was a longtime coming.
“Both are strong kids, good awareness, strong arms,” Coach noted. “Both of them are just physically gifted. They both took what they were blessed with and developed it even more. They played to their strengths and fine-tuned what they needed to work at. That’s given them both an opportunity to play Division I baseball.”
Wood said Logan has craved his own legacy at BHS from the plate, the mound and outfield.
“He’s definitely gain a lot of maturity as far as being a leader and his control and what he can do, how it effects a game,” he said. “He’s also gained velocity. That’s one thing the University of Memphis likes about him. He’s a multiple role guy. He can be a pitcher. He’ll pitch for us. He can play the outfield and he’ll be a major part of the lineup for us. He has a lot of good tools the University of Memphis saw.
“It’s not usually for a high school pitcher to take over the game and shut it down,” Wood added. “He’s special and can do that. And it’s also special to see a guy shutdown base runner trying to take an extra base with throws from the outfield. That’s definitely an impact point of his game.”
Logan’s impact in baseball started early. He was not only following in his brother’s footsteps but he was continuing the family’s athletic legacy that started in the 1960s.
“This is the greatest feeling in the world,” Joe said. “Some people get one, I get two Division I signees. Logan started playing at birth.
“It’s the family game for this generation,” he continued. “My dad was a football player at Memphis. I played baseball growing up. My dad’s name is Joe too. He played from ’65 to ’69. My boys were just naturally talented. Uncle Greg Chandler and their mom helped get them started.”
From the T-Ball days to playing traveling baseball with the Memphis Tigers, Melissa was along for the ride fulfilling multiple responsibilities.
“ Logan is just one of kind,” she said. “Dalton is the competitive one. Logan is the natural. Logan just enjoys what he does. He can play and enjoys the game.
“Very special and very proud of them to achieve this,” Melissa added. “Logan love sto play. They were very competitive and have been all their lives. Logan gets out there and he’s a team leader. He just love to get out there whether he’s pitching, in the outfield and he loves to hit the ball.”
Logan’s passion for baseball and the upbringing of his brother shaped his approach to the game.
“Honestly pitching is my favorite part,” he noted. “I’m more like a closer type because I like to come in and shut things down. I like the pressure. Playing under pressure is more fun to me.”
Wood said he’s glad Logan is prepared to take on that challenge as he will be used in the closer role throughout 2021.
Logan said his family has been the foundation helping him reach his dream school of Memphis,
“My sister, whenever my moms was working she would cook dinner,” he recalled. “She has been the second mom there when my mom couldn’t be there.
“My dad growing up really could play but I guess he didn’t love the game as much as we do,” Logan continued. “My granddad has always been my role model. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and go to Memphis.”
Logan said if it wasn’t for the sacrifice and dedication of his mom he wouldn’t have had a chance to reach the Tigers. Melissa said having two Division I sons makes her proud but her dream came true one night against the Mustangs.
“One of the most memorable moments is they were playing at Houston,” Melissa recalled. “And of course it was Dalton’s senior year and one of his (Memphis Traveling) Tigers teammates came up to bat. He called time and went to talk to Logan.
“They had two outs and this is a real good guy up there batting,” she continued. “Dalton spoke to Logan for a minute and then gave him a hug. He walked back and Logan struck him out. Logan pitching and Dalton catching, it was very memorable. They did not share. I think nobody knows what was said in that conversation. That will stay between them.”
Logan said the previous season’s trip to play the Mustangs was the moment he remembers getting confirmation he earned his big brother’s respect.
“I remember the first time pitching to him at Houston,” Logan said. “It was just crazy because I never thought we would end up playing together.
“He always talked that stuff telling me he was better than me,” he concluded. “So it just made me work much harder to try to be better than him.”