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Carroll High School pitcher Taylor Goshen paused before his most memorable fastball of the season.
Northrop's best hitter, Colin Brockhouse, stood at the plate. Full count. Brockhouse had fouled off two or three of Goshen's fastballs, as he tried to break up the seven-inning perfect game.
“I remember thinking, 'He's going to hit a shot to the wall or I'm going to strike him out,' ” Goshen said. “There was no in-between. I got him swinging. Perfect finish to the perfect game.”
Goshen recorded the perfect game (21 up, 21 down) in April, as a jump-start to a tremendous senior season. After going 2-2 with little fanfare as a junior, he emerged as the most dominant pitcher in the area as a senior, finishing with an 11-2 record, a 0.93 earned run average and 128 strikeouts to only 19 walks. He pitched eight complete games and four one-hitters and has been selected as The News-Sentinel Baseball Player of the Year.
Like that perfect game, Goshen had to work and earn everything he accomplished.
“We felt we had a kid that could be special,” Carroll coach Dave Ginder said. “He lost a lot of time in May of his junior year because of an injury. He flew under the radar because of that, but he had a good April as a junior and we looked for a lot from him his senior year. We had high expectations and he performed to those really well.”
Goshen had a strong season last summer with the Indiana Bulls travel team, and earned a scholarship to Wichita State University.
So by the time he entered his senior spring with Carroll, his confidence was high.
“My biggest rule as a pitcher is that nobody scores,” Goshen said. “I get irritated when someone scores.”
Goshen pitched in 16 games, allowing no runs in 10 of them, including five games of five or more innings pitched. In addition to the perfect game, he twice struck out 14 hitters (Northrop and Bishop Luers) and once struck out 13 (Norwell). Except for a few moments, including a rough outing against Homestead, he was nearly untouchable. Goshen also hit .296 at the plate with three homers and eight doubles.
“He's worked his tail off and gotten better the last few years,” Ginder said. “A goal of his was to pitch at a high level and do it against very good competition all year, and that shows by his exceptional numbers.”
Ginder pointed to the Class 4A Lafayette Jefferson Regional as a testament to Goshen's performance. He threw seven innings in a 5-1 semifinal win over McCutcheon and then came back to throw three shutout innings in Carroll's 7-4 loss to Noblesville in the title game.
“He dominated a very good Noblesville team, and that was a great performance even though we didn't get the win and didn't advance,” Ginder said.
Goshen said he ranked the regional day's pitching as a great test to what he could do, as he threw around 175 pitches that day, he said.
Goshen credits preparation and “ridiculous details” as the keys to his success. After every game, he would take out a notebook and record what he did well, what didn't go well and what he needed to work on. The notebook was a tremendous help, he said.
As he looks back on the season today, the game of the year still had to be the day of perfection against Northrop. Northrop has a reputation as one of the area's best baseball programs, so finding a way to shut down the Bruins adds to the impressiveness of the performance.
Goshen began to realize he had a shot at something special about the third or fourth inning.
“After every out, our third baseman (Trevor Snyder) would say, 'Hey, Goshen, you know you got a perfect game going?' ” Goshen said. “The entire team, let's just say they weren't worried about a jinx.”
All three hitters in that final seventh inning worked to full counts, with Goshen's nerves showing when he started 3-0 against the leadoff hitter. He settled down and struck out the side.
“The regional was more fun; it really tested what my arm could do with a high pitch count,” Goshen said. “But nothing beats a perfect game.”
Taylor Goshen, Carroll
Grant Inman, Carroll
Zach McKinstry, North Side
Colin Brockhouse, Northrop
Treg Haberkorn, Leo
Alec Reuille, Snider
Matt Krites, Snider
Andrew Saalfrank, Heritage
Shawn Kitzmiller, Woodlan
Grey Fox, East Noble
Tyler Zimske, Homestead
Austin Mack, Bishop Luers
Matt Kent, Canterbury