PALMERSTON – A pair of native softball gamers are carrying a bit of additional weight round their necks this week.
Josh Metzger, an outfielder, and Zach Dobson, third baseman, are nationwide champions, enjoying large roles in main the Tara Longhorns to gold within the U15 Boys’ Canadian Quick Pitch Championship.
The workforce amassed a 7-3 file on the occasion – held in St. Albert, Sask., from Aug. 9 to 13 – together with a 10-3 win within the championship recreation towards the Newfoundland Selects on Aug. 13.
The Longhorns had performed nicely all season, and the workforce was one of many prime 4 in Ontario heading into the Canadian championships.
These 4 groups – Napanee, Wilmot, Elmira and Tara – all gained a match this season.
Coming off a third-place end at provincials earlier in the summertime, Palmerston’s Metzger and Dobson stated the workforce was assured going into St. Albert.
“We have been in some shut video games; we misplaced a pair ones that we shouldn’t have… I used to be fairly assured going into it,” stated Metzger.
“We’ve a very good workforce and everybody hits nicely,” added Dobson. “And we’ve got good defence.”
After a 9-5 loss on the opening day of the match to the host St. Albert Astros, the Longhorns gained their subsequent 4 video games, together with a 10-9 win towards the Valley Vikings (Saskatchewan) that got here right down to some last-at-bat heroics from Metzger.
“Within the final inning, we have been down 9-6,” stated Metzger, setting the scene. “And imagine it or not, three guys obtained hit (by a pitch) back-to-back-to-back.”
With the bases loaded, the subsequent batter hit a single to drive in a run, making it 9-7.
Metzger walked as much as the plate, with two outs, and smacked a double to drive within the ultimate three runs of the sport.
“We climbed our means out of that one,” he stated.
The Longhorns dropped the ultimate recreation of the round-robin portion of the occasion by a rating of 8-7 to Elmira, qualifying for the playoff spherical.
Within the first recreation of the playoff spherical, Elmira and Tara met up once more, with the Longhorns needing some late-inning magic to win.
Down 9-4 heading into the highest of the seventh, the Longhorns scored eight runs – 4 of them with two outs – and the defence shut down Elmira within the backside of the inning to win 12-9.
Who was extra burdened concerning the scenario, the gamers or the dad and mom?
“I wanted a defibrillator… possibly three of them,” quipped Jeremy Metzger, Josh’s father.
“I keep in mind it clear as day – two outs, two balls, two strikes, two guys on base… recreation is over if we don’t hit the ball right here.
“I feel we have been extra wired than they have been.”
Then there was the stress of the championship recreation towards Newfoundland.
Main 5-2 heading into the highest of the seventh, Tara scored 5 runs to take a commanding 10-2 lead.
Newfoundland would rating one within the backside half to make it 10-3. The stress was not from the closeness of the sport, however moderately the anticipation of ready for the ultimate out.
“Simply hit in play, or to the shortstop or one thing,” Metzger stated of his ideas ready for the ultimate out.
Dobson stated it was probably the most worrying inning of his ball profession.
Lastly, a fly ball to centre subject ended the sport and began the celebration for Metzger, Dobson and their teammates.
Metzger was named to the match’s all-star workforce.
The outfielder registered a .345 batting common with 10 runs batted in on the match, whereas boasting an ideal fielding share.
Dobson performed in seven video games on the match, scoring 4 runs whereas utilizing his glove to contribute to the defence that shut down groups all through the occasion.
The pair additionally performed essential roles on the Minto Crush U15 squad that completed atop the common season standings throughout the Intercounty Softball Affiliation season.
Minto would win silver on the ISA year-end match, which Dobson and Metzger needed to miss attributable to nationals.
Each Metzger and Dobson will transfer as much as U17 subsequent 12 months, and each aspire to return to Tara for one more season and hope to repeat the success of the 2023 season.