In this year’s Elton Goodwin Memorial Foundation Tribute to our Troops baseball game at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium, between the Gig Harbor Tides and South Kitsap Wolves, the players and coaches were allowed to select a member of the military they wanted to represent.
Gig Harbor senior pitcher Logan Gerling, who was named the game’s most valuable player after racking up the game-winning RBI at the plate and earning the win on the mound, chose his grandfather, 1st Lt. Richard Goins, who served in the Korean War as a special-ops fighter pilot with the United States Air Force.
“From the time I was born, he was always supporting me in baseball,” Gerling said. “He’s always looking out for me and looking for the best.”
Gerling was the game’s most impactful player, working out of a jam in the sixth inning, knocking in the game’s only run and shutting the door on the visiting Wolves in the final frame to seal the win.
It’s hard not to be emotional about baseball, especially when you’re working for someone and someone else here watching you. I think that’s kind of the big picture that brings it all together. I think it’s a great event.
Logan Gerling, Gig Harbor senior pitcher and game MVP
“For him to be able to see me perform like that, I really appreciate that and I’m truly honored,” Gerling said. “It’s emotional. The game of baseball is emotional. It’s hard not to be emotional about baseball, especially when you’re working for someone and someone else here watching you. I think that’s kind of the big picture that brings it all together. I think it’s a great event.”
Goins was in attendance. After the game, Gerling handed his jersey to his grandfather, who was beaming with pride, and gave him a hug.
Several of Gig Harbor’s players and coaches represented family members and close friends who have served in the military, and each presented the jersey to either the person being honored, or a family member or friend representing the soldier.
Gig Harbor coach Pete Jansen wore a jersey representing the Army’s Pfc. Stephen McCauley, who was Jansen’s best friend and died in Cambodia when he was 19 years old, serving the country.
Gig Harbor starting pitcher Patrick Fredrickson, who went five innings without surrendering any runs against the Wolves, wore the jersey of Jansen’s brother-in-law, Navy sailor Carl W. Erickson, who passed away more than a year ago.
I’m sure everybody that got a jersey today are all feeling like it’s really special. It was. It’s just a great day.
Pete Jansen, Gig Harbor coach
“I’m going to send the jersey to my friend’s sister and Patrick’s jersey is going to be sent to my nephew,” Jansen said. “I’m sure everybody that got a jersey today are all feeling like it’s really special. It was. It’s just a great day.”
Everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy the event, and win or lose, it was going to be special either way. It was bigger than baseball.
“It’s a great experience to come out and honor these veterans and fallen soldiers,” Fredrickson said. “I think it’s a cool thing the community should keep doing. It’s a good way to come out and have recognition for veterans. It’s a great event.”