Goodge, Metz lead Hill­top­pers to ti­tle

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - SPORTS - By Nate Barnes nbarnes@news-her­ @NateBar­nes_ on Twit­ter

Grant Goodge played maybe his worst game of the sea­son in Chardon’s Divi­sion II Jef­fer­son Dis­trict semi­fi­nal win over Geneva May 16. Goodge, one of the Hill­top­pers’ lead­ing hit­ters, com­mit­ted four er­rors and played an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally rough game.

With­out hes­i­ta­tion, coach Brian Long pen­ciled the se­nior sec­ond base­man back in the No. 5-hole May 17 for the dis­trict cham­pi­onship game against Gil­mour.

When Goodge faced an 0-2 count with two outs in the sixth in­ning of a score­less game, with se­nior cen­ter fielder Luke Cal­la­han on base, he pro­duced the big­gest hit of Chardon’s sea­son. Goodge punched a two-strike of­fer­ing into right-cen­ter field to send Cal­la­han home for the gamewin­ning run.

“I just knew I had to pro­duce a big hit,” Goodge said. “Go­ing in 0-2 on that, I just knew I had to pro­tect. The big­gest thing is to pro­tect the zone.”

Goodge’s RBI sin­gle stood as the only tally in Chardon’s 1-0 vic­tory against Gil­mour at the Jef­fer­son Lit­tle League Com­plex on May 17. The score was the only one Hill­top­pers’ righthander Myles Metz needed. Chardon next faces Can­field on May 24 in Hud­son.

Metz dealt a com­plete game shutout in the dis­trict fi­nal.

He al­lowed five hits, three walks and hit two bat­ters, but found a way to keep the Lancers off the score­board.

“We rely on our se­niors,” Long said. “It’s their fi­nal year, it’s their sea­son, it’s in their hands. They need to step up in big mo­ments.”

Chardon backed its starter with out­stand­ing plays in the field.

Gil­mour sent a run­ner home from sec­ond base in the sec­ond in­ning on Johnny Hol­lis’ sin­gle to right field, where Dakota Bald­win’s throw home kept a run off the board. The Lancers tried to score again in the third on Ben DeMell’s two-out sin­gle to cen­ter and Cal­la­han threw home for an­other out­field as­sist.

“That’s why he’s go­ing to Gan­non,” Long said. “The kid’s the real deal, I’ve been telling ev­ery­one he’s prob­a­bly one of the best cen­ter field­ers in this area hit­ting­wise. It’s just amaz­ing what that kid can do on a base­ball field.”

Most mem­o­rable for Chardon will be Goodge’s game-win­ning hit to bounce back from a try­ing game a day ear­lier.

Goodge joined the Hill­top­pers’ start­ing lineup af­ter he re­ceived 13 at-bats a sea­son ago, when he sat be­hind start short­stop Perry Bew­ley. Af­ter he sparked Chardon’s dis­trict ti­tle, Goodge leads the Hill­top­pers to the re­gional level bat­ting .404.

“I’m elated that he’s been hav­ing an amaz­ing sea­son,” Metz said. “It’s just made pitch­ing so easy. Pitch­ing with a lead, you can af­ford to mess up once in a while.”

Goodge’s bounce-back from one day to the next mir­rored Chardon’s tra­jec­tory through the reg­u­lar sea­son. The Hill­top­pers used a nine-game win­ning streak to win 13 of their first 15 games. Chardon then lost five in a row.

What Goodge and his team­mates learned in both stretches helped them win their 20th game May 17.

“Dur­ing that win­ning streak we knew we had to stay hum­ble,” Goodge said. “I feel like we did, and los­ing those five games re­ally put it into per­spec­tive for us like oh, shoot, let’s go. We’ve got to turn it up now.”

DeMell, a fresh­man com­mit­ted to Penn State, im­pressed for the Lancers. He held Chardon’s ex­pe­ri­enced lineup to four hits and walked one over six in­nings.

Coach Jay Fowler looks for­ward to the next three

sea­sons of DeMell’s growth and was proud of his fresh­man’s ef­fort.

“At no point does he get rat­tled,” Fowler said. “He’s a kid that’s, he lives in the big mo­ment, had some big hits for us too and on the mound, I wish we would’ve got­ten to the bot­tom half of the sev­enth to see what he could do.”

Fowler said he tried to put pres­sure on Chardon by send­ing run­ners to the plate, and tipped his hat to the Hill­top­pers for their timely de­fen­sive plays.

Gil­mour fin­ished 13-9 as the Lancers com­pleted their first sea­son in D-II.

“We were re­ally proud for ev­ery win in the play­offs,” Fowler said. “The Hawken win, the Lake­view win, each one of those, we re­ally thought those are ex­cel­lent wins for us in this new divi­sion and I’m hop­ing that this sets an ex­am­ple.”


Grant Goodge, left, and Myles Metz hold the D-II Jef­fer­son Dis­trict cham­pi­onship tro­phy af­ter Chardon’s 1-0 win against Gil­mour on May 17.

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