The season ended in a disappointing way but that finish did not overshadow on bright 2018 baseball season at Metuchen High School.
Metuchen fell to Raritan High School, 1-0, in the Central Jersey, Group 1 state sectional tournament final that was played on June 1 at Charles Park in Metuchen.
Raritan’s winning run cross on a passed ball in the top of the seventh inning. That result left Metuchen with an 18-7 record.
Metuchen coach Leo Danik pointed out how his team’s young talent was able to grow as the season progressed.
“We got a lot of young kids playing,” Danik said. “We have four freshman in our lineup. We’ve had a lot of great experience this year. We played a lot of great competition. We’ve had some experiences that you can’t downplay. These kids are more than just this 1-0 loss today. They’re much more than that. They’ve had an incredible season. They’re better people. I know people say that a lot, but it’s true they are a great group of kids. Baseball’s a tough game. You can be on top of the world one second, and it can rip your heart out the next. But, the positives are that we’ve been there. We hope to get back next year. We just can’t take this season for granted because you never know.”
Danik has high expectations for next year, stating that the process for redemption will start in the off-season.
“Play good fundamental baseball,” Danik said. “In the summer, teach the fundamentals again. Right now, we just want to catch our breath and get ready for the summer. But, in terms of next year, the plan is to keep developing the young guys. We got a lot of young guys, as well as some other young guys coming up. I tip my cap to my seniors. At one point, we were 2-5, and we just finished the season 18-7. Right now, the guys are ripping their hearts out, especially the guys that were here last year [in the Central Jersey, Group 1 state sectional tournament], losing [to Middlesex High School] 3-2. So, that’s two years in a row being the bridesmaid. So, it’s tough.”
Danik is anxious for next spring to arrive.
“Most of my infield is back,” Danik said. “[Junior Will] Hronich at third. [Jay] Harry, our shortstop, is a sophomore. [Gavin] Abrams, at second, is a freshman. [Matt] Rowe, at right [field], is a freshman. In center, [Jackson] Fenner is a freshman. So, that’s more than 50 percent of your team is a freshman. But, with that being said, you never know.”