FARMINGTON — Logan Klunder has parleyed his stellar prep career at Piedra Vista into the opportunity to continue playing baseball after the recent PV graduate signed a national letter of intent to play for Pima Community College today at PV.
Klunder received attention from a number of other programs, but he said Pima met all his criteria and was the best fit for him.
“They were really nice, gave me a spot on the team and just gave me a chance,” Klunder said.
Pima CC is located in Tucson, Ariz. The Aztec compete in the National Junior College Athletics Association and finished the 2016 season with a 30-26 record.
Klunder will most likely play catcher for the Aztecs and will have a good chance to contribute to the team right away.
Klunder initially played catcher through his sophomore year at PV, but was moved to third base for the bulk of his junior and senior years, also spending some time at first base, to fill voids in the team's defense.
“His learning curve is going to be steep behind the plate, even though he’s done that for us in the past,” McGaha said. “I think it will be more about what he wants to do. They needed a catcher this year, and it was a chance for him to get his foot in the door. Obviously, he has the skill set and body to play that position, and he’s a banger at the plate. All those things lend to him being a successful catcher.”
Although he didn’t play behind the plate for PV during his last two years, Klunder has gotten some work at catcher this summer while playing for Strike Zone in the Connie Mack City League.
McGaha said the biggest challenge for Klunder will be handling the adversity of reintroducing himself to the position, and the physical and mental demands of the position.
But dealing with adversity won’t be anything new for Klunder. After earning the No. 1 seed in the 5A state tournament in 2015, the Panthers were upset in the quarterfinals. Then, looking to re-establish themselves as the best in the state during the 2016 season, the Panthers had to deal with multiple injuries and discipline issues that left the team shorthanded. Still, PV battled through to the state semifinals with Klunder leading the way.
“He was our guy. The 2016 Panthers were led by Logan Klunder,” McGaha said. “That’s tough. Any guy who’s put in that situation has to be prepped for it. That guy has to be able to handle that role, and it weighs on a guy. You know everyone else is counting on you, and you become the player/coach in the dugout.”
McGaha said Klunder’s ability to handle the pressure of leading the team, even when he struggled during the season, is what makes him a phenomenal teammate and someone the Aztecs will welcome.
Klunder said he’ll major in criminology at Pima CC and plans to go to law school to become a lawyer.
Klunder is aware of the challenges he’ll face playing at the next level and said his approach to the new obstacles won’t differ from how he handled adversity while at PV.
“You have to put a chip on your shoulder and fight through that adversity,” he said. “If you keep grinding, good things will happen.”
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.