It seemed like a Hollywood movie script, only it was very much real life for Purdue infielder Logan Poisall.
The former Clovis High and Fresno City College standout learned from his mother, Jan, that his father, Jack, had died Feb. 16.
If personal tragedy wasn’t enough, an eligibility issue forced Poisall to stay in West Lafayette, Ind., while his team made the trip to Texas for a weekend series.
Poisall overcame it all to make major noise in a Boilermakers debut that was only slightly delayed. Quickly cleared by the NCAA, he followed the team to San Marcos, Texas, the next day, arriving in the middle of a game.
Called on in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter, the junior doubled in his first at-bat. In Game 2 of the series, he started and belted an opposite-field homer in the first – the last of three Boilermakers homers in the inning – in an eventual 12-8 Purdue victory.
The moment, he said, was a magical mix of euphoria, triumph and acceptance.
When I did that I knew that was him.
Former Clovis High/Fresno City College standout Logan Poisall on feeling his late father’s presence after hitting an opposite field home run, two days after Jack Poisall died
“When I did that, I knew that was him,” said Poisall, who out of high school redshirted at Fresno State in 2014 before playing two seasons at Fresno City. “I never hit an opposite-field home run in my life.
“Watching the ball carrying and carrying, it was crazy and a neat experience. It was like a movie, like something magically happening.”
Jack Poisall, 60, died from renal and liver cancer. He had been sick since Logan was a senior at Clovis.
Poisall said he received a call from his father earlier in the week. Dad told him he “was tired of fighting.” Logan asked him to try to hang on a little longer: “You have to wait until I get there … we play in California in less than a month.”
Purdue has games scheduled at Cal State Northridge and Santa Clara in mid-March.
Poisall has known for a while that his father’s liver and kidneys were failing, but he had bounced back several times, dramatically so on one occasion.
“He had five strokes in my senior year,” Poisall said. “But the five strokes came in a two-week span. He was in intensive care for 3 1/2 weeks and on life support most of the time.”
Doctors, the son recalled, feared the elder Poisall would slip into a vegetative state. The family maintained life support and he made what Logan called a “miraculous recovery.”
Even in poor health, Jack Poisall still attended Logan’s games at Clovis and Fresno City. With the Rams, Poisall was named Co-Central Valley Conference Player of the Year last season.
My mom was at every game and yells like crazy. (Dad) was a guy that would sit back and watch the game.
Logan Poisall on his father, Jack, who died Feb. 16, a day before the son’s debut for the Purdue baseball team
This past fall brought another scare, with Jack Poisall in and out of the hospital. The fear was he wouldn’t make it past Thanksgiving.
“I got a call in one of my classes and my mom told me, ‘You know when coach told you can go home when you needed to?’ ” Poisall recalled. “She said, ‘It’s probably a good time to come home now.’ ”
Poisall made the 2,227-mile trip home.
“He recovered when I came back,” Poisall said. “He was still pretty sick. It’s been tough on him and we knew his time was coming up quick.”
Poisall returned to Fresno for a private family service Feb. 22. He stopped by a Fresno City practice, where he was greeted with hugs.
“I asked Logan how he was doing,” Rams coach Ron Scott said. “He said, ‘Coach, my dad is in a better place and he taught me how to be a man.’ ”
The kid has been through a lot. We always say baseball is a game and we’re lucky to play it, but there are bigger things in life.
Purdue redshirt sophomore reliever Mike Kornacker, to the Lafayette (Indiana) Journal & Courier, on the travails of teammate Logan Poisall
Poisall returned to Indiana, shared his story with media there and also appeared on MLB Network’s Hot Stove on Feb. 24.
“I got to tell a story about a man who not only impacted my life,” Poisall said, “but other people’s lives.”