Monday, September 27, 2021

CVC races approach final turn

The races for one of three Chagrin Valley Conference baseball titles is approaching the final turn and all three divisions remain up for grabs.

Currently, Chagrin Falls has first place locked down in the Chagrin Division, Beachwood and Independence are tied for first in the Metro, and Kirtland remains undefeated in the Valley Division.

There are multiple scenarios in each of the league’s three divisions heading into the final two weeks of the regular season that could reshape the standings.

As of today, 13 of the league’s 21 teams are in the hunt for a league championship. Some teams have a much easier path to win that title than others, but it sure sets up what should be an intense and fun race to the finish.

We’ll take a closer look at each division below.

CHAGRIN DIVISION

Jack McMullen

Current Standings:

1. Chagrin Falls 7-1
2. Hawken 6-3
3. Lakeside 4-4
4. Geneva 3-4-1
5. Perry 4-6
6. Orange 3-6-1

The Favorite:

With four games remaining, Chagrin Falls is in the driver’s seat thanks to three two-game sweeps and a split with second-place Hawken. The Tigers travel to Geneva on Tuesday and then host the Eagles on Wednesday. They’ll close out conference play with a two-game series against Lakeside next week. The Tigers will clinch the division with three wins or two wins and a Hawken loss.

Also in the Hunt:

Thanks to a 6-1 win over Chagrin Falls on April 26, Hawken remains in the hunt for the Chagrin Division title. The Hawks are 6-3 and trail the Tigers by two games. Hawken travels to West Geauga on Tuesday and will close out league play with a two-game series against Geneva next week. The Hawks aren’t exactly in a must-win situation as the Tigers have four remaining games left to be played, but another loss would certainly reduce their odds of leap-frogging the Tigers for the top spot.

Lakeside (4-4) has an outside shot at winning the conference title but for that to occur, the Dragons have to beat Perry twice and then sweep a two-game series with the first-place Tigers. On top of that, Hawken has to lose two of its remaining four games.

Geneva (3-4-1) needs a lot to happen for it to win the league title and, fortunately for the Eagles, they control their own destiny, for the most part. The Eagles close out league play with a two-game series against each of the top two teams in the division. They have to win both of those series and also see both Chagrin Falls and Lakeside drop at least one more game.

METRO DIVISION

Beachwood Baseball

Current Standings:

1. Beachwood 6-2
1. Independence 6-2
3. Trinity 6-4
3. Lutheran West 6-4
5. Wickliffe 3-5
5. Cuyahoga Heights 3-5
7. Brooklyn 0-8

The Favorites:

While six of the seven Metro Division teams technically remain in the hunt for the league title, Beachwood and Independence control their own destinies with identical 6-2 marks. The key here is a two-game head-to-head series next week to close out conference play.

The Bison play 0-8 Brooklyn twice this week while Independence is scheduled to play 6-4 Trinity twice. The pressure is on the Blue Devils to keep pace with the Bison.

Next week’s head-to-head series becomes even more important if either team stumbles in a game or two this week.

Should both teams sweep their series this week, the conference title would be decided next week by whichever team sweeps that final series. A split would result in a share of the crown.

If either Beachwood or Independence loses a game this week, they’d need a sweep next week to win the league title. Losing both games this week would require a sweep next week just to share the title.

Also in the Hunt:

Trinity (6-4), Lutheran West (6-4), Wickliffe (3-5), and Cuyahoga Heights (3-5) technically all remain in the hunt for first place but they’ll need some help, a lot of it.

For one of these four teams to emerge at the top of the standings, they’ll need both Beachwood and Independence to lose three of their final four games (which means an 0-2 stretch this week and a split next week). If Beachwood and/or Independence finishes 2-2, the best one of the other four teams can hope for is a share of the title.

Trinity already has a split with Beachwood to its credit and closes league play with a two-game series against Independence this week. The Trojans are in a tough situation as they need to win out and have both Beachwood and Independence lose three of their last four. Trinity can help itself by sweeping Independence and then the Trojans will look for a split out in the Beachwood-Independence series. But, first, there are no bigger Brooklyn fans right now than the Trinity Trojans because if the Hurricanes don’t upset the Bison, Trinity’s title hopes all but evaporate.

Lutheran West closes out league play with a two-game series against Wickliffe next week, which means one of those teams likely will be eliminated from the conference title chase. The Longhorns could live with a split against the Blue Devils but that would force them to root for Beachwood and Independence both to lose at least three of their last four games just to earn a share of the title. For Lutheran West to win it all the Longhorns have to sweep Wickliffe to finish 8-4, and Beachwood and Independence both have to lose at least three of their final four conference games.

Wickliffe and Cuyahoga Heights both are in a must-win situation heading down the stretch. With each having five conference losses, they’re looking for Beachwood and Independence to lose at least three of their last four to share the title. Since both teams play head-to-head this week, one of these teams will see their hopes of winning the conference title stripped away.

VALLEY DIVISION

Kirtland Baseball

Current Standings:

1. Kirtland 8-0
2. Berkshire 7-1
3. Edgewood 5-4
4. Grand Valley 5-5
4. Cardinal 4-4
6. Harvey 1-8
7. Crestwood 0-8

The Favorites:

Undefeated Kirtland controls its own destiny but one-loss Berkshire is in the same position. If either the Hornets or the Badgers win their four remaining games, they’ll go on to win the league title.

Kirtland closes out league play with a two-game series against Edgewood this week and a head-to-head series with Berkshire in the final week of the regular season. The Badgers play rival Cardinal this week in a two-game set with the hopes of heading into next week’s showdown with Kirtland with the conference title hanging in the balance.

Neither Kirtland nor Berkshire will have it easy this week as their conference opponents—Edgewood and Cardinal—have grown up quickly this season and have the potential to play spoiler.

A loss—or two—this week by Kirtland would force the Hornets to sweep Berkshire next week to win the conference title outright. Should Cardinal earn a split with Berkshire, the Badgers would need to knock off Kirtland in both games to earn a share of the title…that is unless Edgewood wins one or both against Kirtland. A two-game sweep by Cardinal would leave Berkshire hoping for Kirtland to lose one or two to Edgewood and then the Badgers would be in a must-sweep situation against the Hornets.

This title race should become much clearer after this week’s games.

Also in the Hunt:

While Edgewood (5-4) and Cardinal (4-4) have the potential to tie Kirtland at the top of the standings, that scenario gets discarded when the reality sets in that for Kirtland to lose all four of its remaining games, Berkshire would have to win at least two of its last four—in that head-to-head series with the Hornets–and claim the league crown with a 9-3 mark.

There is no scenario that would open the door for either Edgewood or Cardinal to win the conference title.

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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