It has not been a straight and narrow path for Liam Goodall to get to where he is in his baseball career.
Goodall was born in Nanaimo, BC and spent his days growing up there. In high school, he began playing for the Nanaimo Pirates of the BC Premier Baseball League while attending Nanaimo District High School. It was here that he really saw an opportunity to further his baseball career. Goodall hopes his hard work will take him places rarely seen by residents of Nanaimo, and admits his success is no fluke.
“I attribute my success to countless hours of work spent improving each aspect of my game,” Goodall said. “I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can get in order to get better.”
Taking advantage of every opportunity is exactly what he has had to do so far. After graduating from Nanaimo District in 2011, Goodall made a stop at Vancouver Island University Vancouver Island University plays in the Canadian Colllege Baseball Conference and are based out of Nanaimo.
It was here that he met coach Jordan Blundell.Looking to go south to play, coach Blundell put Goodall into contact with head coach Randy Stegall at Embry-Riddle University, an NAIA school in Daytona Beach, Fla After doing his research, Embry-Riddle seemed like the best choice and Goodall was soon off to Daytona Beach.
“I chose Embry-Riddle for a couple of reasons,” Goodall said. One reason is it would give me the opportunity to play in a baseball program that has been historically very successful, as we have currently been to 11 of the past 13 NAIA World Series. The other reason I chose ERAU was that it enabled me to play baseball while also getting a degree in the area of study that I wanted and that I would be able to use.”
To go along with the 11 NAIA World Series appearances is 15 conference championships for the Eagles, with the most recent being last year. The fact the school is serious about winning and coaches put the players in such a great position to succeed is what Goodall likes best.
The current season is one that has brought much success to Goodall, both personally and from a team perspective. The Eagles are currently 31-16, while Goodall is second on the team in average hitting .393. He also has three home runs and 52 RBIs, 10 ahead of the next best on the team. Last spring he hit .319 with 10 doubles, six triples, 32 RBIs and a .786 OPS in 61 games.
To add to that success he was recently named The Sun Conference Player of the Week for the week of April 13th and is the only player in the conference to double up on the honour this season, also receiving the honour the week of March 16th. Not a bad season for a guy who has big time aspirations in baseball.
Goodall is now a junior at Embry-Riddle and has little hesitation when asked what his favorite memory has been thus far either at school or since he has started playing.
“My favourite was playing at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho back in 2013,” Goodall said. “That was my freshman year at Embry-Riddle. We finished third in the NAIA that year and I had the opportunity to start four games in left field at the World Series.”
Playing in the College World Series is certainly an experience he will not forget, but he hopes it is not the last.
Goodall had two hits and stole a base in the opener, as the 3rd-ranked Embry-Riddle scored an 8-3 win over the 6th-ranked York Panthers. He was hitless as Embry-Riddle moved to 2-0 with a 5-4 win against the No. 2 ranked Lee Flames.
Next he was 0-for-2 with two walks in a 10-3 loss to top-ranked Faulkner Eagles. Then, the Eagles lost 13-7 to the No. 7 ranked host Lewis-Clark State Warriors before 2,295 fans and were eliminated.
“My ultimate goal in baseball is to one day make it to the Major Leagues and stay there for as long as possible,” Goodall said. “In the event that that doesn’t work out, I am hoping to use my degree to become a structural engineer, designing buildings, bridges and roads.”
Goodall points out that he would not be where he is today without the support of the people around him, especially his parents and coaches.
“I would like to thank my parents for all their support throughout the years,” Goodall said. “The most influential people on my baseball career have been my parents. They spent countless hours driving me to practices and games, and spent a lot of money buying bats, gloves, etc so I can play. My dad used to throw to me a lot in our batting cage back home, which has helped me a lot. I would also like to thank the coaches I’ve had throughout the years with the Nanaimo Pirates, with the VIBI Mariners, and at Embry-Riddle who helped put me in a position for success.”
It will be interesting to follow this young Canadian’s journey down whichever path he chooses to go.