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, taking part in large roles in main the Tara Longhorns to gold within the U15 Boys’ Canadian Quick Pitch Championship.
The staff amassed a 7-3 report on the occasion – held in St. Albert, Sask., from Aug. 9 to 13 – together with a 10-3 win within the championship sport towards the Newfoundland Selects on Aug. 13.
The Longhorns had performed nicely all season, and the staff was one of many high 4 in Ontario heading into the Canadian championships.
These 4 groups – Napanee, Wilmot, Elmira and Tara – all received a match this season.
Coming off a third-place end at provincials earlier in the summertime, Palmerston’s Metzger and Dobson mentioned the staff was assured going into St. Albert.
“We had 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,” mentioned Metzger.
“Now we have a extremely good staff 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 received their subsequent 4 video games, together with a 10-9 win towards the Valley Vikings (Saskatchewan) that got here all the way down to some last-at-bat heroics from Metzger.
“Within the final inning, we had been down 9-6,” mentioned Metzger, setting the scene. “And consider it or not, three guys acquired hit (by a pitch) back-to-back-to-back.”
With the bases loaded, the following 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 remaining three runs of the sport.
“We climbed our method out of that one,” he mentioned.
The Longhorns dropped the ultimate sport of the round-robin portion of the occasion by a rating of 8-7 to Elmira, qualifying for the playoff spherical.
Within the first sport 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 harassed 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… sport is over if we don’t hit the ball right here.
“I believe we had been extra wired than they had been.”
Then there was the stress of the championship sport 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 somewhat the anticipation of ready for the ultimate out.
“Simply hit in play, or to the shortstop or one thing,” Metzger mentioned of his ideas ready for the ultimate out.
Dobson mentioned it was essentially 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 staff.
The outfielder registered a .345 batting common with 10 runs batted in on the match, whereas boasting an ideal fielding proportion.
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 vital 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 as a result of nationals.
Each Metzger and Dobson will transfer as much as U17 subsequent 12 months, and each aspire to return to Tara for an additional season and hope to repeat the success of the 2023 season.