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Bell happy to get an extra season

AKRON — The college career of University of Akron freshman pitcher and Lisbon High School graduate Logan Bell was just getting started when the Zips season was cut down by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

He will now get the chance to recoup this lost season.

On Monday, the NCAA’s Division I Council voted to offer an extra year of eligibility to all Div. I spring sports athletes whose seasons were wiped out by the pandemic.

“I’m really happy that I still get the chance to play a full four seasons and happy that I’ll have the chance to earn my degree before I’m done playing,” Bell said. “It was great news.”

The Zips are coached by former Cincinnati Reds all-star third baseman Chris Sabo and were in their first season back after the program was eliminated in 2015 due to budget concerns. They were on a road trip to Nashville to play a three-game weekend series against Lipscomb University when their season was cancelled on Thursday, March 12.

“It’s about an eight-hour bus ride to Nashville,” Bell said. “On our way down there the day before the game we started seeing everything else get canceled, we kind of expected we would be next. We got all the way down there and were still going to try and play Friday and then they said everything was canceled, so we had to turn around and go back the next day. We did get to have fun as a team hanging out in Nashville that night though.”

The young Zips concluded their abbreviated season with a 1-12 record. Bell debuted with 2 2/3 scoreless innings in the season-opener and finished with and 0-1 record and 8.00 ERA. He made five appearances and one start, pitching a total of nine innings while striking out 11 and walking seven. Bell tossed a scoreless inning in the Zips final game of the season, a 1-0 loss to Urbana on March 11.

“It was a different experience for sure this year, it’s way different than high school,” Bell said. “It’s a different level of intensity and a different level of player you’re up against.”

Bell, who finished his high school career with over 300 strikeouts, said was adjusting well to the workload of being a Div. I student-athlete.

“The biggest thing I learned this year was you have to mentally bring it every single day,” Bell said. “Even if you aren’t scheduled to throw, you still need to really focus on putting a good day of work in. Academically, the biggest adjustment was probably time-management. I liked having a full schedule, there were some times in the fall when I would leave the dorm at 7:30 a.m and not get back until 8:30 at night.”

Bell returned home after the campus was cleared of students and has been focused on continuing his classes online and staying in shape over the past few weeks.

“I shut down my throwing for a couple of weeks after the season ended just to give my arm a break,” Bell said. “I’ve still been working out four days a week and running a couple of days.”

Although much remains uncertain at this point, Bell hopes some semblance of normalcy can return by the summer. He is currently slated to pitch for the Brazos Valley Bombers of the Texas Collegiate League. As of now, the league is still planning to open on time in late May.

“I haven’t heard anything from them yet,” Bell said. “We’ll just have to wait-and-see.”

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