Catasauqua head baseball coach Steve Bradley has one specific goal for his team this spring - win a playoff game.
The Roughies have been denied the honor over the past three years, a time period in which they have accumulated a maximum of 12 wins.
Last season, Catty finished with an overall 12-8 mark, but they lost to Southern Lehigh in the Colonial League playoffs and then suffered a district playoff defeat to Pen Argyl.
The previous year, the Roughies also went 12-8 and had the same results. Three years ago, they began with a 0-8 mark and finished with an overall 8-12 mark.
This season with a horde of seniors and returnees, Bradley firmly believes the goal can be a reality.
"Our goal is to get a playoff win this year and then go from there," said Bradley, who is beginning his fifth year at the helm. "We have a number of seniors on this team and I like what I see so far. We're very senior-heavy and we have three returning players.
"We do have a number of players who haven't played at the varsity level. But everyone is really working hard."
Senior pitcher and rightfielder Jake Kober, pitcher and shortstop Dakota Schiffer (6-1 last season), and center fielder Mike Shutta are the three lone returning starters for the Roughies. Fellow senior outfielder Joe Rothrock logged more time during the second half of last season.
"Jake (Kober) will be counted on for his arm and his play in the field," said Bradley. "Dakota (Schiffer) is probably our best pitcher, and Mikey (Shutta) was a second-team all-league choice. Joe (Rothrock) did a good job in the outfield, and he did a nice job at the plate."
Other seniors who figure to be in the mix are Joe Harakal and Andrew Gehringer, both who will log time at catcher and third base.
Both of them were injured most of last season. Senior Jacob Schneck should see time at second base and fellow senior Mike Gilmartin figures in the outfield plans.
Calvin Thompson, a transfer from Florida who also will be senior eligible, should help in the long run.
Bradley also sees junior Nate Pontician as a fixture in the rotation and sophomore Rodney Berger has been impressive. Freshman Cody Raisley also will likely see some time.
The Roughies are scheduled to open the season Friday against Northampton. Even though a scrimmage earlier this week appeared unlikely, Bradley remains optimistic.
"If we can't scrimmage, that isn't good," said Bradley. "But we have a number of younger guys who have looked good and we have to see if they will be mentally ready to contribute," said Bradley. "Our older players, though, are ready to take the next step."