Like a lot of little boys in America, Dustin Loggins had a dream of one day being able to play Major League baseball, on July 13, 2012 he took one more step to realizing that dream when he signed with the Kansas City T-Bones, an independent team in the American Association.
"Well earlier on in the summer I went to a try out with the T-Bones here in Kansas City," said Loggins. "They liked my workout and later on in the summer I ended up sending (T-Bones manager) Coach (Kenny) Hook a text message and sent him my stats for the summer and I guess he was impressed and he sent me a text message telling me to call him and he told me he had an opportunity for me to play. So I ended up driving up to Wichita and meeting the team up there and I signed the next day."
Loggins pitched for Waynesville High School from 2006-08, before moving on to the College of the Ozarks in Branson, where he developed into a decent starting pitcher before a back injury his senior season forced him to take some rest. The rest though may have actually led to him being able to throw harder, as his velocity has increased from the mid 80's in high school to the low 90's now.
"In high school I was in the mid 80's and would touch the upper 80's every once in a while and I threw a lot in high school," said Loggins. "All through college I was in the mid 80's most of the time and during my senior year I hurt my back and ended up getting a lot of rest, so my arm had about five months to rest and that just got it to where it is now."
Loggins knows that he will have to continue to work hard if he wants to make it to the major leagues but he just happy for the opportunity that he has now with the T-Bones.
"It's just about working hard and putting in time off the field," said Loggins. "Obviously you're going to have practice every day but it's what you do off the field to make you better that counts. I am actually not a starter anymore, they put me in the bullpen and it is a completely new experience for me but it's something that is going to take a little bit to get used to but I am enjoying it."
Page 2 of 3 - The bullpen is a new role for Loggins but he is willing to do whatever it takes to play and like he said you never know there may come a time when they need someone to step in and start a game and Loggins just wants to be ready.
"It's something that I am still getting used to but I am slowly getting the hang of it," said Loggins. "I am just hoping to come in and get noticed and help the team out of the bullpen, and just fill up innings as they need me. Then if something happens and they need a spot starter or something like that then maybe I will get an opportunity."
The hitters are so much better at this level than in college and Loggins knows that one mistake could cost him the game.
"Honestly I think it will be location and coming in and having the confidence," said Loggins. "All these guys have played at different levels, they have played affiliated ball, they have been all over. There are even guys that have made it to the majors that are playing in this league. At this level the hitters are so good that if you leave a ball hanging or leave a ball up in the zone they are going hit it and they are going to hit it a long way."
Loggins is hoping that his time in Kansas City will help him to get noticed by other teams so that he can be brought up and pitch on the big league level.
"That's why a lot of the guys are here, said Loggins. "They played double a or triple a and they are just looking for that opportunity to get called back up. Just being successful is what you have to do and you will get seen, I mean there are scouts at every game and if you are successful you can get brought up pretty quickly."
Page 3 of 3 - So far on the season, Loggins has pitched in four games and is 0-0 with a 5.06 ERA. He has struck out three hitters and walked six, giving up four runs, three earned and five hits.
The Kansas City T-Bones play in CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan., and you can view their schedule at http://www.tbonesbaseball.com/.