2022 Chardon graduate Christian Hall’s high school career was not supposed to end like this.
The week of the OHSAA Division II State Baseball Final Four, the Hilltoppers’ third baseman/right-handed pitcher injured his right knee sliding into third base in practice.
”We thought it was a lot worse than it was,” said Coach Brian Long. “He really went down and couldn’t walk on it or put pressure on it.”
Hall said it was a devastating feeling because he did not want be sidelined from the biggest high school baseball games of his athletic career.
The next day, he visited the doctor and received a cortisone shot that alleviated some of the swelling and he was ready for action. Hall closed out the state semifinal game against Columbus Bishop Hartley and did the same against Akron Archbishop Hoban propelling Chardon to its first state baseball championship in school history.
He graduated Chardon being a member of three state championship teams, making him the first student-athlete in school history to achieve that honor.
“That’s something that is really hard to come by and I’m really proud of myself for that and it’s just something that I never thought I’d be in the position to do,” he said.
Athletics was something that Hall found a way to find common ground with his adopted parents and find a place in the Hall family.
“It helped create a relationship with me and my parents because coming into the adoption I’m a baby and we didn’t really have that much in common,” he said. I knew this wasn’t my real father and mother but my love for sports and my love for sports really bonded us together.”
The Chardon resident became invested in playing sports when he was only three-years-old and honed in on basketball, football and baseball.
Football was something he could share with his father, Frank, who played college football at South Carolina State and served as an assistant coach on the Chardon football team.
He enjoyed all three sports but decided that he had the brightest future in baseball. He said he had good hand-eye coordination and liked the fact there was less wear and tear on the body in baseball rather than football. The only hesitation he had was telling his father that he wanted to focus on baseball because of his father’s connection football. The elder Hall surprised his son and actually told him that he needed to prioritize baseball.
“I thought he’d want me to continue with football but he was completely okay with it and that took me by surprise,” Hall noted. “He’s a huge football guy and all of my little brothers play football and when he said that I really knew I had a chance at the next level.”
Hall was a resident of Ashtabula through junior high school until his family moved to Chardon before he entered high school.
“I stuck out like a sore thumb,” he said. “It was bad at first but once people saw I was pretty good at sports then friends came.”
Hall spent time on the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity football team but did not play baseball in the spring because of an injury he suffered during the fall season. He lettered on the varsity football team his sophomore season but missed another spring season, this time because of the pandemic. That marked two consecutive spring seasons where Hall did not compete on the varsity baseball team.
“It was hard but I kept myself busy,” he said. “I’d still work with my summer team and go to the weight room and stuff like that.”
Hall aspired to earn an offer to play college baseball but most of the offers he received enticed him to play football.
He admitted he was unsure if he’d ever get an athletic scholarship to play baseball.
“It’s hard to be patient and wait for your dream to come true,” he said. “It’s something that I was on the edge of my seat every day just trying to do what I needed to do to get where I want to go and it’s just nothing but patience.
Hall continued his football career in his junior campaign and enjoyed a memorable season by helping capture the first state football banner in Chardon history since the 1993 season.
He then experienced his first full season of high school baseball and competed as the starting third baseman on the varsity team.
Hall noted he started receiving baseball offers following his junior season and considered not pursuing football so he could focus on baseball but was heavily recruited by the coaching staff.
“All of the coaches non-stop texted me and called me and told me that they needed me back on the field and all of that,” he explained. “Then I came to a practice one time and instantly just fell back in love and said I need to come back.”
During the football season, he received an offer to play Division I baseball at Alcorn State University southwest of Jackson, Mississippi.
“When I got to that point in my senior year I had seen all of these people get their Division I offers their sophomore or junior year, or freshman year,” he said. “I didn’t think it was going to come my senior year but it did and God really worked his magic and helped me out.”
His senior year got even better when he committed to Alcorn State in February.
Despite the baseball program there being in a state of flux with a new coaching staff, Hall saw a challenge. He explained he liked challenges and that it was something that kept him busy and whenever he is presented with one, he does not shy away but attacks it straight on and does everything to the best of his ability to conquer that hurdle. Hall was projected to be the starting third baseman for the baseball team but took on more responsibility when the Hilltoppers needed another pitcher to add to their rotation.
Hall proved that he was the right man for the job by compiling a 2.03 ERA in 55.0 innings of work, striking out 45 batters, walking 19 and recording three saves and slashed .403/.538/.941 in 105 plate appearances.
“Everything Christian does he’s going to win,” said Long. “That’s that championship winner mindset that he just has and there are kids who have that. Christian is fortunate enough to have the mindset.”
Hall’s biggest shining moment came in the state championship game against Akron Archbishop Hoban on June 11 at Canal Park in Akron. After Chardon took the lead in the top of sixth inning, it needed someone to close it out and Long turned to Hall to get the final six outs.
“I was like I’m going to redeem myself,” Hall said. “I said here we go. We’re going to go win this game.”
Hall delivered to wrap up his Chardon career with three state banners.He now turns his attention to helping lift up a rebuilding program at Alcorn State while maintaining his hopes of becoming a professional baseball player.
“Alcorn State is in a rebuilding process and getting a young kid like Christian in there is nice,” noted Long. “Christian will have an opportunity to go play as a freshman and that’s the only thing you can ask for these college athletes”