For the Catasauqua baseball team, their last three weeks will be a test of character. Or better yet, it will be gut-check time.
Starting Wednesday, the Roughies will embark on a three-week journey, one that will test their mettle and resolve as they begin their search for a return to the district playoffs and also a possible spot in the Colonial League playoffs.
Editor’s note: In last week’s edition of the Catasauqua Press, an incorrect photo was used to go with the feature on Joey Kober. This is a reprinted version of the story with a correct photo. The Press apologizes for the error.
Joey Kober knew it was time for an attitude adjustment.
It was his sophomore season and Kober realized that life was bigger than he thought.
“Things are a lot better than last year,” said Kober, a junior. “I am a lot more determined. I started on JV and then was called up to varsity.
Dani Pluchinsky knew the softball program likely would take a different direction this season, but she didn’t expect the current stage to surface.
The Roughies began the season with all-state performer Hannah Edwards and other former seasoned seniors that produced a 19-win last year, and kept them among the elite in softball circles.
Still, Alexia Reichl and fellow senior Shannon Gallagher returned to anchor the pitching staff and provide some big bats in the lineup. That was until the duo went down with season-ending pitching injuries in the opening weeks.
Zach Bilder wasn’t happy with his hitting last year and also during the summer. He spent the winter trying to solve the problem and apparently has reached a solution.
Bilder has been one of the more consistent hitters all season, and he began play this week as the team RBI leader with nine. He recorded five of them generated by pair of doubles, helping his team to an 11-1 rout of Palisades April 8 that was the Roughies’ third consecutive win after an 0-2 start.
It’s the word Hannah Edwards often uses to describe her first-year as a member of the University of Pittsburgh softball team. The former Catasauqua standout and three-time All-State choice, who graduated last season as arguably the most talented Roughie ever in the program and one of the more prolific to play in the Lehigh Valley, has been gradually adapting to her new world of college softball.
Bobby Thomas knew that he could encounter a situation where he would lose his starting pitcher to a long-term injury. Over the past eight years, he felt fortunate that it didn’t happen.
“I remember when Nicole Kern was in the program and she was our only pitcher,” recalled Thomas. “She was one of our top hitters and she often ran the bases. I thought to myself that if she ever got hurt in that situation, we would be in trouble.”
Unfortunately, Thomas currently has to face the unthinkable fate, yet one that can be salvaged.
On paper, Catasauqua’s 1-2 start may not be that impressive. But the Roughies have been making some initial strides that should provide some worthy dividends down the road.
Catty began the season with a hard-fought, 8-6 defeat to Northwestern, and then suffered a 4-0 shutout to Colonial League favorite Notre Dame. They bounced back with an impressive 3-1 victory over Saucon Valley Monday.
For Corey Raysely, the waiting truly has been the hardest part.
The Catasauqua junior is extremely anxious to begin the baseball season. Despite looming rain issues, he will get his wish when the Roughies open the 2017 campaign this week in Colonial league action.
It couldn’t come any sooner as Raysely has been ready since the football season ended. Raysely is ecstatic about several issues, one mainly dealing with the addition of 18 pounds to his 5-foot-10, 120-pound frame as a wide receiver and shortstop for the Roughies’ programs.
After they missed the district playoffs last season, Catasauqua’s baseball team appears ready to take the initial steps toward getting back to the postseason.
A good start would certainly help. The Roughies took the nod and didn’t waste any time.
Catty had its final tuneup before the regular season as they scrimmaged Liberty March 25. The two teams played eight innings and the Roughies lost a tight 6-4 battle.
With some welcomed depth and a strong returning unit, Catasauqua’s track program will look to further climb the ladder this spring.
The Roughies have nearly 60 athletes in their camp, a number that is relatively higher than normal. Yet, they will not have experience on their side in many events.
“We have been looking good so far,” said head coach Glen Reightler. “We do have quite a few underclassmen that will look to get better later in the season. But our numbers haven’t been this high in a few years. That’s a good sign for us.