PENINSULA — Every year, Woodridge baseball has two primary goals: Win the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division and compete for a district championship.
This week, Woodridge accomplished one goal, took a big step towards the next — and saw its coach reach a huge milestone.
On Monday, Woodridge defeated Field 5-4 in a tight game in Brimfield. The victory not only won the Bulldogs the outright Metro Division title, but also saw coach Dennis Dever pick up career win No. 350.
"I thought it was a special game," Dever said. "It’s the kind of game you expect when you play Field. They never give up."
Regarding reaching 350 wins, Dever downplayed the accomplishment.
"The only thing that means is I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great players over the years and have some great coaches to work with," Dever said. "That’s the only thing that means."
Woodridge then hosted Ravenna baseball in a Division II sectional final game Wednesday. The Bulldogs pounded out at 10-1 victory over the Ravens to advance to a district semifinal vs. Aurora next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Euclid.
Prior to the games, Woodridge scored an 11-6 win at Hudson Saturday.
Woodridge improved to 19-5 with the wins, as the Bulldogs ran their winning streak to 14 games. Woodridge improved to 12-1 in the Metro Division.
"We’ve been telling the kids to just go out and have fun the last few weeks," said Dever. "Since then, we’ve played some pretty good baseball."
Meanwhile, Ravens coach Aaron Rauber could only lament his team’s fortune after sectional final.
"It’s kind of the same outcome as when we first played here," Rauber said. "We played better than the score indicated."
Woodridge had fun Wednesday by putting up runs in all but one inning, beginning with three in the first inning off Ravenna starting pitcher Nathan Holt (2-3). Holt lasted only 3 and 2/3 innings, giving up six earned runs on six walks.
Woodridge starting pitcher Zane Patterson (4-2) gave up seven hits in the game, he did a great job of limiting the damage, giving up only one unearned run in the third inning. He struck out three Ravens in six innings of work, while Logan Palmer pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
"Zane did what he does," Dever said. "He’s a bulldog out there. That’s why I like having him on the mound in big games."
Woodridge got Patterson the early lead when shortstop Ty Mygrants led off the first with a single. Center fielder David Massey put down a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error allowed Mygrants to score and put Massey on third. Massey later scored on a sacrifice
Holt then walked four straight batters, as a bases-loaded walk to Andrew Mekeal made it 3-0.
Ravenna’s lone turn came when shortstop Carter Bregant reached on an error and scored on an RBI single from Holt in the third.
Woodridge answered with an RBI single from Brian Fitzsimmons in the bottom of the third. In the fourth inning, a double by Patterson, an RBI triple from catcher Brad Goodyear and an RBI single from third baseman Jacob Lovelace chased Holt from the game.
Woodridge kept coming against Ravenna reliever Matt Wunderle, as Fitzsimmons scored on a fielder’s choice and Mekeal scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Fitzsimmons hit an RBI single and Kyle Mottice had a sacrifce fly to make it 10-0.
Against Field,Tanner Boston (5-1) picked up the win for Woodridge, while Patterson picked up his first save of the year, as he held off a Falcons rally. Field scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning before Patterson ended the game.
Woodridge outfit the Falcons 12-6 in the win, led by Massey and Goodyear with three singles each.
The win over Hudson was a bit of a slugfest, as Ryan O’Leary improved to 2-0 on the mound.
Mygrants had big day, finishing with three singles, three runs and three RBIs, while Massey had two singles and two RBIs.
Dever noted his team had a lot of work to attend to before it could think about the district semifinal contest. The Bulldogs will close out their Metro Division season by hosting Cloverleaf Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and then host their Senior Day game with Revere Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Woodridge will play Walsh Jesuit Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Lake Center Christian in Hartville.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC