Bilder helps to lead CHS
Zach Bilder soon won’t forget a game last season in which he fired a two-hitter with five strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over Northwestern in early May.
It helped the Roughies clinch a playoff spot. The game also was one of several strong starts that led Bilder to an overall 5-0 record with a stingy 0.75 ERA with 47 strikeouts during the regular season. Bilder also led the team with 17 RBIs and a team-high .361 average.
The senior arguably began the season as the team’s ace of a relatively young staff. Not bad for someone who began the season as a catcher last season.
The Roughies marveled about Bilder’s talents behind the plate, but head coach Steve Bradley decided to make the transition last year.
“He has a cannon for an arm and can really call a game,” said Bradley. “But we felt confident about Zach (Bilder) pitching as well. Zach quickly has developed into a very good pitcher and he should have a good year for us.”
Through six games, Bilder has a 1-1 mark for the Roughies. He has a fastball and curveball in his repertoire and flirts with a slider.
The transition wasn’t a major obstacle.
“It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” said Bilder. “I feel pretty confident with everything right now. I probably was a little nervous at first, but I really began to feel good about everything.
“The (Northwestern) game was a big win for me. I thought I was pitching well, but that helped me really put it all together.”
A catcher most of his life, Bilder gained invaluable experience from his father, Mark, who was a catcher at Whitehall.
“He has taught me a lot about catching,” said Bilder about his father. “Everything he showed me helped me become more confident. I owe everything to him.”
Bilder realizes the transition on his team, which is marked by inexperience throughout the lineup.
“We just have to keep working hard and things will come together for us,” said Bilder. “We picked up a big win (24-1 over Northern Lehigh) and it took a lot of the weight off our shoulders.”
Ironically, Bilder plans to continue his career in college next year and plans to revert to catching.
“I don’t see myself pitching next year,” said Bilder. “I’ll probably be catching next year. But I plan to do whatever I can this year.”