{{featured_button_text}}

Sports Editor

Sports editor at The Sentinel.

UNIVERSITY PARK — This pain will heal quicker than most.Quinn Buffington wanted to win the PIAA Class 2A Baseball Championship on Thursday at Penn State’s Medlar Field. Josh Goodyear did. Luke Goodyear did. And Jackson Thompson, who recorded the final out that sealed Camp Hill’s fate in a 5-4 loss to newly crowned champion Rocky Grove, did.

The final loss of the season always stings, even more so when it happens in the state championship.

But it will heal. Maybe not today, but there is always tomorrow.

“There’s a lot more to this season than just this game,” Buffington, a senior captain and center fielder, said from the stadium’s underbelly. “I can’t complain.”

Josh Goodyear is already on his way.

“It was so fun,” the optimistic senior said of the experience of pitching in a state championship. “I remember watching when we were here [and won] in 2008, 2009. I was watching as a little kid, eyeing this moment up forever. It just feels great to finally get out there toeing the rubber.”

For six seniors — Buffington, starting pitcher Josh Goodyear, left fielder Casey Fellinger, third baseman Luke Newman, and role players Ryan Foerster and Noah Foster — Thursday was their last varsity game. The pain won’t heal as a Camp Hill athlete in another game, but it will with summer vacation and college preparations.

“Senior class, couldn’t ask for any better one,” second-year Lions coach Mike Acey said. “We had some seniors give it up early, but these guys stuck it through.”

+24 
+24 
PIAA Baseball: Camp Hill vs Rocky Grove
+24 
+24 
PIAA Baseball: Camp Hill vs Rocky Grove
+24 
+24 
PIAA Baseball: Camp Hill vs Rocky Grove
+24 
+24 
PIAA Baseball: Camp Hill vs Rocky Grove
+24 
+24 
PIAA Baseball: Camp Hill vs Rocky Grove

For junior second baseman Mason Gavlick, the sting of a 0-for-3 day will be alleviated when he inevitably sets out to practice harder than ever so he can win gold, not silver, when he’s a senior. The same can be said for the other underclassmen on this team, like starters Luke Goodyear, Carey Myers and Connor Bowen.

Thompson may have the longest road back.

The catcher went 1-for-3 with a run scored, but popped out to third to end his excellent freshman season in the worst way imaginable. No matter how poised he is for his age — and he is poised, apparent when speaking to him and his teammates — it would be entirely understandable if he stewed in a dark bedroom for weeks, replaying the at-bat in his head a million times.

But this won’t eat away at him. Mike Acey won’t let it happen — to Thompson or any other returning Lion.

“He’s got to keep his confidence up,” the skipper said after his team completed a 17-9 season with a District 3 title and a fifth trip to the state championship. “Jackson’s a great ball player, and it’s not his fault — you don’t win or lose a game with one individual, it takes a team effort. We shouldn’t have been in that situation to start with. He will, he’s the kinda kid that will take the blame fully on his shoulders.

“I’m sure he’ll be sad and upset for days to come, but he’ll get over it. He’ll realize where we did get to with as young a team as we had.”

The biggest motivator is revenge. Not against Rocky Grove, per se, but in the general sense. Camp Hill will want to get back here and finish the job.

“I was telling the younger guys [while handing them their silver medals], ‘Keep your head up, we’ll be back. We’re coming back, we’re coming back next year,’” said Acey, who is confident this team will be more motivated than ever.

High school athletes are quick to feel: joy, relief, sadness, pain. It’s a blessing and a curse at this age, when hallway drama, a spat with a significant other and long practices are generally the toughest parts of the day. The emotional valleys are lower and the mountains higher, especially on the field.

But there’s a silver lining to moments like this for many: There’s another game to be played soon or another practice to attend. And that’s always the quickest cure. Sorrow turns to smiles in the blink of an eye.

“I think if we were expected to make it this far and lost, it definitely would’ve hurt more,” Buffington said. “But that we made it this far, it’s definitely special. It’s a good feeling.”

“I had a heckuva season, I had a great time with these guys,” said Goodyear, who heads off to play soccer (and maybe basketball and baseball) in college. “I had a great time, I wouldn’t take it for granted.”

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Email Jake Adams at jadams@cumberlink.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520

0
0
0
0
0