Goodge, Metz lead Hilltoppers to title
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.