This Father’s Day was immensely special for Virginia baseball catcher Logan Michaels and his father, Jeff. The Cavaliers played the No. 3 seed Tennessee Volunteers in the first game of the College World Series for both teams. Virginia pulled off the improbable victory, blanking a hot Tennessee squad, 6-0.
Michaels had himself a day on the diamond, breaking a 0-0 tie in the top of the third inning with his first home run of the season. It was an absolute no-doubter in to left center, but the moment wasn’t just special because of the run it put on the board.
Jeff Michaels, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018, was on site in Omaha to watch his son play. The diagnosis coincided with Logan transferring from Madison College — a junior college in Wisconsin — to Virginia and fulfilling his dream of playing D1 baseball. A wonderful story by Bennett Conlin of the Daily Progress outlined the difficult decisions the Michaels family had to make along Jeff’s long journey.
In April, Jeff got to see his son play at Virginia for the first time. In June, he got to watch him help his team take a big step in the postseason.
“When it went over the fence I started thinking about my dad, and it’s one of the most special moments we could share together,” Michaels said in the postgame press conference. “I was sitting in the dugout after it happened. I got pretty emotional. For him to be here for what he went through in the past, just for him to be here and be able to see that, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Just a really special moment.”
Michaels wasn’t done after the home run. He ripped a single in the top of the seventh that scored Alex Tappen to make it a 2-0 game, and he finished with three hits and two RBIs. Jeff loved every minute of his Father’s Day (ok, maybe not the super stressful parts), but no moment was more special than when they brought him the home run ball.
“There’s no words for it,” Michaels tried to explain. “Just for someone to bring him the home run ball, and obviously for it to happen on Father’s Day at the College World Series, I mean, definitely a special moment for our family and for my dad and [me].” Right after the game, Logan understandably got emotional talking about his performance and being able to do it with his dad in the stands.
Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor got a little choked up talking about the moment after the game. “There was a time three years ago that I didn’t know Logan Michaels would show up to campus because of what he was dealing with his father. He decided to come. He was encouraged by his parents to be here. I’m just so incredibly proud of him to be able to deliver like he did on this special day. I know this day is special for all of us, certainly, but for him, you know, I’m just elated for him that he can perform for his team and his father can sit there and watch him do it. I’m just really, really excited for their family.”
Next up, Virginia will play the winner of Texas and Mississippi State at 7pm on Tuesday night. The game will be on ESPN2.