McNary two-sport star Ready for the next level

McNary senior Logan Ready plans to attend Pacific Lutheran University next year to play football and baseball (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic throwing a wrench into high school sports for the last two years, McNary senior Logan Ready has been able to display his unique skill-set on the football field and baseball diamond over the last year.

Next year, Ready will be taking his abilities to the collegiate level.

After receiving offers from a number of Division III schools, Ready committed to play football and baseball for Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, Wash. last month. Ready will be a kicker for the football team and a pitcher for the baseball squad.

“It was a busy process, but it feels good to be committed to PLU. I feel like it’s going to be a good fit for me,” Ready said.

Out of the more than 460,000 student athletes in the NCAA, only a select few play multiple sports in college. Ready said he received offers to play just one sport at multiple schools, but that he had his heart set on playing both football and baseball, an opportunity that Pacific Lutheran afforded him.

“I really wanted to play both. If I played at a higher level, I probably would have had to choose one, but since it was a smaller school I wanted to try and do both. And they were one of the few schools that wanted me to do both,” Ready said.

Ready also said he appreciates the small size of the college and that academics are the priority at Pacific Lutheran — Ready plans to major in business.

“I liked the campus. It was the right size for me. I wanted to go to a smaller school because I felt like I would be able to fit in more,” Ready said.

Ready admitted that baseball is his favorite sport and that he really didn’t have college football on his radar until last year. He had been a kicker while playing youth football, but hadn’t kicked in a high school game until last March during the COVID-shortened spring season.

After losing all-league kicker Daniel Mood to graduation in 2020, McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen told Ready that he wanted him to be the team’s kicker as a junior.

Ready was reluctant at first, but came to realize that he had one of the strongest legs in the Mountain Valley Conference.

“Auvinen came to me at the start of the COVID season and told me we need a kicker, so I told him I would try it out. But I just kept getting better and better and more consistent,” Ready said.

“We talked him into it and he took on the challenge so well. He knew that he wanted to kick at the next level after he had some success. It was nice to see him gain confidence,” Auvinen added.

Ready made 18 of his 23 kicks and had five touchbacks during the six-game spring season. When the fall came, Ready showed even more improvement, making three field goals and going 35-of-39 on extra points to go along with his 20 touchbacks.

But the most notable kick of his career came in the second game of last season.

McNary and Newberg were tied at 14-all when Auvinen sent out Ready to try a game-winning 43-yard field goal. Before the attempt, Newberg head coach Jeremy Johnson tried to freeze Ready by calling a timeout. However, the decision ended up having the opposite effect of what Johnson intended.

Ready kicked the game-winning, 43-yard field goal against Newberg on Friday, Sept. 10 2021 (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

“I felt less pressure after they called the timeout. When I went out there the first time, my whole body was shaking. I was really nervous,” Ready said.

During the timeout, Ready went over to assistant coach Brian Aicher, who gave him a substantial boost of confidence.

“He told me, ‘We know you have this in you. Just go do it.’ It was so nice to know they had that belief and support in me,” Ready said.

After a perfect snap and hold, Ready booted the ball straight through the uprights, and was mobbed by his teammates after hitting the game-winner.

“I just loved it. I just knew that the whole team was going to come out and support me. I just loved the feeling,” he said.

Less than a week after making the kick, Ready started generating interest from Division III football programs across the Northwest, which led to him eventually getting an offer from Pacific Lutheran.

“I definitely started getting looked at more after the kick,” Ready said.

As a pitcher, Ready sits between 83-86 MPH on his fastball and has a 12-6 curveball that can be difficult for prep hitters to handle. However, Ready has had limited opportunities to show his ability for the McNary baseball squad over the course of his career.

Although he played for Northwest Diamond Sports in 2020 when the high school season was canceled, Ready only got a handful of starts on the mound during the shortened baseball season in 2021, and didn’t perform to his expectations.

“I just didn’t feel like myself last spring, and having two days to go from football and baseball wasn’t ideal for my arm. I wasn’t really throwing at all, I just hopped right into games,” Ready said.

While he already knows where he’s playing college ball, Ready is entering his final high school season with something to prove.

“I want to be a first-team all-league pitcher. Especially having a rough year last year and not pitching to my potential, I just want to prove that I am good enough to be able to do that and show everyone that I have what it takes to play at the next level,” Ready said. “We have a strong senior class and I think we have the ability to make a run in the state playoffs.”

Off the field, Ready has been a servant to the community in numerous ways. Along with volunteering with Marion Polk Food Share and as an youth sports official, Ready has been a part of National Honor Society with McNary for the last four years.

At the Keizer First Citizen Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 22, Ready was the recipient of the first ever Future First Citizen Award, presented in honor of former Keizer Mayor Dennis Koho, who passed away in 2019.

“It was sweet, especially with learning about the man that Dennis was and seeing his whole family there,” Ready said.

Whether it’s on the field or in the classroom, Ready’s high school coaches believe he has what it takes to be successful at the next level.

“We are really happy for Logan. He found the perfect place to play college football and baseball, and more importantly a good place to pursue his academic goals. He has invested a lot of time and effort into becoming a quality high school pitcher. His hard work has paid off, and now he will have an opportunity to compete at the college level. He is a dependable kid, a player that PLU will be able to count on,” McNary baseball coach Larry Keeker said.

“Logan is a great kid and a great teammate who has filled a really big role for us the last two seasons. He brings a lot to the table and I believe he is going to do great things at the next level,” Auvinen said.