BASEBALL: Meriden’s Good keeps getting better

BASEBALL: Meriden’s Good keeps getting better

MERIDEN – It’s about one hour until the Meriden Post 45 American Legion Baseball team takes on Madison, and Elliot Good is already out on the field stretching and running as his teammates begin to join him. While Good is the first player to begin his pregame routine, he is also the last player to complete his warmup and return to the dugout.

Stretching, running and trying to remain healthy is something that Good has taken more seriously over the years, after suffering an injury prior to his junior year in high school.

The three-sport athlete was participating in a Legion baseball showcase following the season when something didn’t feel quite right. He pushed until he could no longer.

The standout player headed to the doctor’s office and left without a diagnosis. Good went through a couple weeks of physical therapy, but he still didn’t feel right. So, he went to another doctor who found a stress fracture in his back. Just like that, his football and basketball season’s were over.

Good was finally cleared to hit the diamond on the first day of baseball season.

Post 45 coach Doug Wedge said that during the 2018 Legion season, Good wasn’t 100 percent, but he continued his work to develop as a baseball player.

“He never ever complained,” Wedge said of Good’s road to recovery. “He came to every game and did the best that he could.”

Now, with college baseball at Central Connecticut State University right around the corner, Good understands exactly what he has to prepare for.

“It’s going to be a lot harder,” Good, who was the 2019 Record-Journal Male Athlete of the Year, said regarding what he anticipates going into college this fall. “I’m going to have to put my main focus into academics and baseball. I will just try my best in each area.”

Wedge, who has coached the Maloney High School graduate for three years, said that Good’s direct mentality will help him to become a successful student-athlete at the next level.

“He is really properly preparing himself for college at Central,” Wedge said. “Charlie Hickey is a very demanding and successful coach and Charlie Hickey tolerates no nonsense from his players. You are going to do it right and right from the start. And if you are not a serious ballplayer, you will not last very long with Charlie Hickey. Elliot will be fine with Charlie Hickey.”

But it is not just the talent on the field that makes Good special. Yes, he fields his position at shortstop well and his .343 batting average for Post 45 are impressive. His teammates and coaches take notice of his ability to lead by example.

“He’s a really great player and just a good guy,” Post 45 teammate Nick Priebe said. “He’s the leader of the team, really good hitter and it’s just great to have him around.”

Wedge said his willingness to do whatever needs to be done, has been absorbed by the rest of the team. If Wedge asks Good, who is a shortstop, to play outfield or pitch, Good will do just that with no questions asked. And the rest of the squad has followed his lead.

“He’s a very good teammate. He is quiet, but yet he will get involved in things,” Wedge said. “He’s a very focused individual. Whatever the task is at hand, he is very focused on what he has to do. It seems to me he is very adept at blocking out distractions and things that would cause him to lose focus.”

Despite Post 45 struggling in the midst of a six-game losing streak on July 8, Good remained focused on each game and was able to keep the mood positive in the dugout.

“We went into all six of those games, with nine guys, I think,” Good said. “So it’s tough when we don’t have anyone to back us up or cheer us on. But I was just telling the guys to stay with it and keep grinding every game.”

Good is not just playing baseball this summer. As most players on the team do, he has a summer job as a camp counselor at Mountain Mist Day Camp.

Even though he works at the camp from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Good has not missed a single game. The main reason for Good, is to make sure that he is at his best ahead of his freshman season at CCSU.

“I’m just trying to play baseball as hard as I can and as best as I can,” Good said. “I’m just trying to stay healthy, stretching, warming up and doing everything the right way.”