Logan Gerling is a product of his passions.
As a child, the future Washington pitcher spent most days after school at the Boys & Girls Club where his mother, Heidi Gerling, worked. It’s where he developed into an unassailable dodgeball dynamo, picking off prey like Billy Madison at recess. He noticed “that I was throwing it a lot harder than most of the kids.”
And that arm strength, unsurprisingly, transferred to other sports as well.
Gerling — who moved from Palm Springs, California, to Gig Harbor in 2008 — was primarily a catcher until his sophomore year of high school, when his bat began to betray him and he made a permanent move to the mound. He won a Washington 3A state championship at Gig Harbor High School in 2017, but received just one Division I scholarship offer — from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
He chose to enroll at Tacoma Community College instead.
“I knew that I physically wasn’t ready to compete at that level,” Gerling said. “Mentally I was, but physically I wasn’t. So I think that was the biggest blessing for me, because I learned way more than I ever thought I would at Tacoma.”
In two seasons in Tacoma, the 6-foot, 185-pound Gerling compiled a 15-1 record. He went 11-0 in 2019, amassing a 1.49 ERA with 98 strikeouts and 25 walks in 78.1 innings. He was named the 2019 Northwest Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year as well.
When it comes to D-I offers, he says he had “a lot of options.”
And, in another way, he only really had one.
“I think every youth baseball player in the state of Washington wants to be a Husky,” Gerling said. “So that was kind of a no-brainer.”
In four starts this spring, Gerling went 0-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 17.2 innings pitched. COVID-19 wiped away the remainder of Washington’s season just before the beginning of Pac-12 play.
“I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason,” Gerling said. “I don’t know what that reason was, but I know it was a tough one to swallow. We were at the airport when our season got canceled, and I was getting ready for my first start against USC that weekend. I was supposed to start that Sunday game, my first Pac-12 Conference game ever. So that was a big letdown.
“The first thing that went through my mind was all the work I put in to get to that moment, having it swiped away. But nevertheless, I am more grateful to be healthy than anything else.”
Perhaps it’s ironic that Gerling’s junior season ended in an airport, because that’s where several of his passions intersect. Gerling’s grandfather, Richard Goins, is a former Air Force pilot. Gerling said that “he did some pretty top-secret stuff, so when he used to tell me stories when I was younger I was really interested in it. When we were in Palm Springs he used to live right under the flight path of Palm Springs International (airport), so we’d just sit on the porch and watch the planes all day and talk about it.”
Eventually, Gerling did much more than watch. In high school, he began pursuing his pilot’s license. He was 10 hours shy of accomplishing that goal when Gerling enrolled at Tacoma Community College and decided to dedicate himself completely to pitching.
Still, whenever baseball ends, Gerling hopes to become a commercial pilot.
“It was difficult (to stop flying) for sure, just because it’s something that makes me very happy and something that I’m passionate about, and I’ve been passionate about it for a long time,” Gerling said. “But at the same time, I’m not one to make a Plan B, and I know that my Plan A is pursuing baseball. Until that becomes not an option anymore, I didn’t have a problem dropping the flying, just because I knew what I want to be and what I’ve put in my whole life to work for.
“Baseball is like a time-capsule type of thing, where I only have a certain window to do that in my life. Flying is something I can pursue basically any time I want.”
So, for now, Gerling is pursuing baseball from afar. He’s taking virtual classes in Gig Harbor and throwing three to four times per week at a public park. He’s also filming his pitching sessions.
As well as just about everything else.
Of course, that last part is nothing new. A cinema-media major, Gerling bought his first Go Pro camera in middle school after mowing lawns for a year to save money.
“I finally bought it and I literally started filming everything in my life — literally the stupidest things,” Gerling said. “It went from there, and it eventually became my main source of income as a high-school student, too. I was working for real-estate companies making videos, and people were paying me to do modeling videos and all these different things. So it kind of opened up a big avenue for me to make some money in high school and be a lot more independent, and I think it’s paid off.”
Gerling maintains a YouTube channel with more than 100 self-made videos — of hikes and vacations and flights and travel vlogs.
But when he says it’s paid off, that also includes his pitching.
“I do a lot of bullpen work when I’m not at school filming with multiple cameras, allowing me to overlay different videos and see how my pitches are tunneling together and how they’re moving from the same arm slot or different arm slots,” Gerling said. “I set up cameras so I can see what it looks like from the hitter’s point of view, knowing if my pitches are looking hittable. There are just so many different things that I feel like I have a big edge and advantage on.”
From the outside, pitching, filmmaking and flying might not appear to be symbiotic pursuits. But while Gerling remains a work in progress, it’s his passions that inspire him and push him to improve.
“I think the common thread is they’re all different things that push me to explore aspects of my life, honestly,” Gerling said. “I know that baseball not only keeps me in shape, but it’s something that I’m very passionate about. I love competing and I can’t have a healthy mind without competing.
“Flying is something that also has that adrenaline aspect. It keeps pushing my limits on things, on my confidence in myself and who I am. And the filmmaking, to me, it’s like a timeline of my life. I can document things and relive them and see how I’ve changed over the years and what I used to do and how I used to act and think. I think it’s really important for me to reflect on those things, because that’s the way I become successful at the things I’ve been doing.
“I think all those things keep me very … alive.”