The Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy baseball team did not attain its two goals this season, but it was still a successful year for the Royals.
"We wanted to win the Principals' Athletic Conference and a district championship," said head coach Jason Herblet. "We were right there in the conference all season. I think overall we had a very special year. Most of the guys were pretty pleased with where we were."
CVCA finished with a 17-10 overall record and a 9-5 mark in the PAC, which was good enough for third place behind 11-3 Manchester and 10-4 Indian Valley.
The second-seeded Royals came one victory away from winning the Euclid Division II district tournament, falling to No. 1 seed Chagrin Falls 10-7 May 16 in the title game.
Although CVCA was out of the tournament, it had one more game to play May 18 at Cuyahoga Falls as part of the Cuyahoga Falls City Championship.
The Royals ended the season on a positive note with a 7-3 triumph over the Black Tigers, claiming the City Championship for the second straight year.
"Since it was our last game, we played our seniors but also brought some younger guys up from the junior varsity," said Herblet.
Cuyahoga Falls scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning and another in the third for a 3-0 lead.
CVCA fought back with three runs in the fourth inning to tie the score and three more in the sixth. The Royals added an insurance run in the seventh.
CVCA threw a one-hitter at the Black Tigers, albeit an unconventional one.
Senior Luke Leonard started and went 2 1/3 innings. He gave up no hits, but he walked 2, hit a batter and was the unfortunate beneficiary of a crucial error. He yielded all of the Black Tigers' runs.
Freshman Matthew Groggs replaced Leonard and impressed the coaching staff. He went the final 4 2/3 innings, giving up just the one hit, striking out 5 and walking only 1.
"Matthew pitched really well, which is good for the future," Herblet said.
At the plate, senior infielder James Hancock led the way with three singles and an RBI.
Freshman Christian Isaacs rapped two big doubles, while Groggs helped his own cause with a pair of singles and 3 RBIs.
Senior Steven Taylor doubled and scored a run.
Sophomore third baseman Josh Junko singled, knocked in a run and drew a walk, while junior Drew Wilson singled, scored twice and stole a base.
Also with singles were junior centerfielder Josh Thacker and senior leftfielder Chris Fair.
Scoring a run apiece were Alex Jacob and Taylor Sobiech.
While Herblet admitted that losing his seniors, especially Taylor and Fair, and Hancock, too, will hurt, he is already looking forward to 2018, especially with Wilson returning on the mound.
"Drew pitched, in my opinion, an All-State season," he said of next year's ace who posted a remarkable ERA of 0.686 and had some 60 strikeouts. "Those are ridiculous numbers. It was one of the best seasons I've seen from a pitcher. He's going to be in the CVCA record books in those two categories by the time he graduates.
"We've got a handful of other younger guys who I think are going to fill our seniors' shoes pretty nicely."