Goshen clinches first playoff berth in eight years

Published 8:58 pm Friday, April 8, 2011

It has been eight years since the Goshen Eagles were a part of the 3A baseball tournament.

During those years, the team struggled just to win games as well as keep players.

But that is all behind the Eagles and it’s fans thanks to Thursday afternoon’s win over Highland Home.

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That 8-7 home victory over the Flying Squadron not only improved Goshen to 4-2 in area play, but also helped clinch second place – and a place in the 2011 state playoffs.

“First of all, I don’t want to take any of the credit for what has been accomplished this season with this team,” head coach Robert Kinsaul said Friday afternoon.

“Each one of the guys have worked hard, and I knew they had the capability to achieve everything they have this season early on because of their dedication to the game.”

As for Thursday’s game, the Eagles got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 6-0 after the first inning.

From there, the home team would slow down a bit, giving the Squadron a chance to chip away at the lead.

By the top of the seventh, the Goshen lead was just one run, at 8-7.

There, Highland Home would load the bases, with no outs.

However, Eagle second baseman, Mike Grantham turned a line drive into a double play, pulling Goshen within one out of the postseason.

Starting pitcher Jared Maddox would make sure his team would meet that goal.

The sophomore pitcher threw all seven innings, and the final batter he faced, went down on strikes, ending the Highland Home threat, and securing the Eagle victory.

“Anytime you make the postseason, it’s a big step for your program, school and community,” Kinsaul said.

“That’s what we are trying to do at Goshen. One sport’s success will go into the others.

We want all our programs to be successful. Baseball has been down the last few years, but we had to win three games in a row in area to get to get to the playoffs – and we did. We are ecstatic to be in this situation.”

In the complete game win, Maddox struck out 12 batters, while only allowing four hits and one walk. He also went 2-for-3 at the plate.

A number of Eagle batters finished with multiple hits in the big win, as Aaron Bryant, Russ Thomas and Rob Boutwell all finished with two hits and RBIs.

Mike Grantham, Justin Atwell, Paul Messic all finished 1-for-3, with three RBIs, apiece.

Carlton Bean also had three RBIs in the victory.

This was the first time Goshen has been in the playoffs since 2003, while the team is currently 5-11, the most wins the program has had in several years.

“The last third of our season, the guys have been really playing well, especially the pitchers,” Kinsaul said.

“We have played hard all season long and it was the little things that helped turned things around for us.”

During the three-game winning streak, Goshen has scored 33 runs.

“Anytime you win, it’s enjoyable. I can see it in our kid’s eyes,” the coach said.

“We had a lot of close loses (during the season), and our guys got tired of them.

“The guys are more hard minded and have stayed focused. When a program has been down like Goshen’s has been for the last couple of years, to make it to the playoffs is huge and the guys definitely showed their emotions after the game.”