Poisall Fulfills Father’s Dying Wish

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It was his father’s last wish, so Logan Poisall knew he had to honor it.

Poisall, an infielder from Fresno, Calif., had worked to play college baseball his whole life. That dream took him across the country to Purdue, where, as a junior-college transfer, he was determined to help turn around a program that won only 10 games a season ago.

He made the choice to attend Purdue even though his father, Jack, was dying from renal and liver cancer back in Fresno. Jack had been sick since Logan’s senior year of high school. Alcoholism caught up to Jack and he had five strokes in the span of two weeks in 2012. The strokes left Jack in the intensive care unit and on life support, but he fought hard and made a recovery.

But Jack’s health situation turned dire last week, just days before Logan was supposed to play his first game as a Boilermaker. It wasn’t the first time Logan’s family thought Jack might not make it.

“During Thanksgiving break he got really sick,” Logan said. “My mom called and said, ‘If there’s any way you can come home it’d be a good idea, because I don’t know if he has much time left.’ I went home and he wasn’t doing very good.”

Logan boarded a plane and flew to California thinking it might be the last time he ever saw his dad. But Jack pulled through and had spent the past few months with stints in and out of the hospital.

Logan’s first game as a Boilermaker was supposed to be last Friday, but when the team plane left the Indianapolis International Airport for San Marcos, Texas, on Thursday, Poisall wasn’t on it because he still hadn’t been ruled eligible by the NCAA. To make matters worse, he received a call from his mother on Tuesday saying his father might not make it to Wednesday.

Purdue coach Mark Wasikowski met with Logan and asked if he wanted to travel with the team or go back to California.

“I asked him, ‘Have you spoken with your dad?’” Wasikowski said. “(Logan) said, ‘My dad told me, “Stay here, it doesn’t matter if I pass. This whole thing has been for you to live out your dreams playing college baseball.” ’  Basically he told him to pull up your britches, go to work, and come back after you play.”

With his teammates gone and his college baseball dream temporarily on hold until the NCAA ruled him eligible, Poisall went to take batting practice on Thursday night. Around 7 p.m., his mother, Jan, called and told him Jack had died.

Wasikowski and the team were still on the flight when Jack passed away. When he turned his phone back on, he read the text from Logan with the news of his father’s passing.

“It actually worked to his favor where he could be with his dad in the last few minutes,” Wasikowski said. “He wouldn’t have been had it been different.”

The next morning Poisall was cleared by the NCAA. He took a flight to Texas and arrived in the fourth inning of Purdue’s season opener against Texas State. His teammates, aware of Poisall’s situation, erupted when he walked in.

“Those guys are my brothers,” Poisall said. “The fact they were so touched and they were there for me from the start. Every guy gave me a hug. They’re here for me through thick and thin. I only met them five or six months ago. I couldn’t thank those guys enough for how they’ve handled the situation.”

Logan Poisall (right) with teammates Mike Madej (middle) and Jacson McGowan (Purdue Athletics)

Poisall pinch-hit in the top of the eighth inning and roped a double down the left-field line to collect his first Division I hit. He started at third base the next game and hit a home run down the right-field line in his first at-bat. When the ball cleared the wall, Poisall looked to the sky and pointed his finger.

“It was like I was floating, man,” Poisall said. “I was just hoping the ball would stay fair. Without God nothing would be possible. I know. He grabbed the ball and pushed it over the wall.”

Poisall started three of the four games for Purdue over the weekend and finished with four hits in 12 at-bats as the Boilermakers went 2-2. He took a flight to Fresno after the game to be with his family. His father’s funeral services will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Poisall’s lasting impression of his dad is the hard work he instilled in him from a young age. Jack, whom Logan said wasn’t much of a baseball player, encouraged Logan to work hard for everything on the diamond and in life.

As for the past weekend, Logan thinks it was something straight out of Hollywood.

“Somehow I got cleared to play and it was like a movie,” Logan said. “That weekend was just like a movie.”

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