Catty brings back seven
For the upcoming 2018 season, Catasauqua will return seven senior starters to its lineup. It should be a solid core that will allow the Roughies to steadily fill some holes.
Last season, the Roughies finished with an overall 9-12 mark and their season ended in the opening round of the PIAA District 11 Class 3A playoffs with a 2-0 loss to Tamaqua. They lost four seniors to graduation, two of them fixtures on the mound in Rod Berger and Colin Hawk.
But the Roughies will return senior Zach Bilder, who had an outstanding season, pacing the team with a 5-0 record and a stingy 0.75 ERA with 47 strikeouts during the regular season. Initially a catcher, Bilder smoothly developed into a pitcher. Bilder also lead the team with 17 RBIs and a team-high .361 average.
“He’ll be huge for us on the mound this year,” said head coach Steve Bradley, who will begin his ninth year. “He is the only player I coached at Catty who made the Carpenter Cup. He made the conversion from catcher last year and had a solid year.
“Zach had some big moments for us last year. One was when he shut down Northwestern at the end of the season to get us into the playoffs.”
Other seniors in the mix will be Cam Ritter and Joey Kober in the outfield, Corey Raysely at shortstop, Shane Dolan at second or third, and Luke Cryer at third or catcher. Raysely hit .321 with a team-high 18 hits and also leads the team with 15 steals out of 20 attempts and 11 walks last year.
Austin Gorr, a senior, is penciled in as the team’s DH, and senior Jayden June is also out and will play the outfield.
Senior and starter Andrew Brett likely will miss most of the season due to a torn ACL from football season.
“We have a good senior core,” added Bradley. “We’ll just have to look at how we will fill three spots.”
Bradley also will look to junior Andrew Martinez, who will see time in the infield and outfield, and junior Eli Fink, who will be on the mound.
Junior Jason Schneck and sophomores Jacob Drummer and Andrew Torres should see time, and sophomores Bailey Witt and Adam Reinhart should be steady contributors after seeing time as freshmen.
Bradley was looking for some live action, but the weather has mainly kept the Roughies indoors. Still -- barring injuries --they should be back in thick of the Colonial League this spring.
Catty will open at Northampton Friday.
“We don’t have big numbers as we only have 23 between JV and varsity,” said Bradley. “But we have guys with experience. If we can get some pitching depth, we’ll be all right.”