Chagrin Falls’ postseason run came to an end on Wednesday with a 3-0 loss to defending state champion Waynedale in a Division III district championship game at Norwayne High School.
The Tigers had their chances—including a bases-loaded situation in the seventh—but weren’t able to get the clutch hits necessary to avoid the shutout.
“Obviously, two good teams in the district championships, two teams that have a tradition of winning districts,” said Chagrin Falls coach Michael Sweeney. “We got down early, and we struggled sometimes to score on the offensive side, so that was tough. We had chances. Last inning, we kind of made a push, thought we were going to maybe give it a shot, but again couldn’t score any runs.”
Waynedale scored all three of its runs in the first three innings and then held off the Tigers the rest of the way.
The Golden Bears loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning on two singles and a walk and took a 2-0 lead on a one-out, two-run single. A leadoff double in the third led to another Waynedale run.
Charlie Reeder led off the Chagrin Falls second with a single, but he was stranded at third.
Chagrin Falls also had runners on base in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.
“Tough game,” said Chagrin Falls’ Charlie Reeder, who collected three of the Tigers’ seven hits. “We couldn’t get the job finished. I think the effort was there, and I think everyone wanted it, but we just couldn’t pull through; we left too many batters on base.”
Reeder found success despite Waynedale pitcher Otto Solorzano, who pitched the Golden Bears to the state title last spring, and his command of his breaking ball.
“The pitcher had a good curveball,” Reeder said. “(He was) a tough pitcher to hit, especially (his) inside fastball, but I got him today.”
Drew Mergenhagen, Brandt Stevens, Sven Nielsen, and Oliver Tepper also had hits for the Tigers.
Mergenhagen took the loss on the mound. He allowed three runs on five hits and struck out three in two innings. Gavin Stevens threw four scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out one.
“Our defense played amazing,” Gavin said. “I was just in the strike zone the whole game and our defense was just doing good the whole game. You couldn’t ask for more.”
Chagrin Falls closed out the year 18-11.