For the Hall brothers, winning a tournament in their literal backyard was something special.
Phil and Derek Hall, both former standouts at Northampton High, paced a Tony’s Top Cat bar and Grill, a locally-based team to the title with a 54-51 win over defending champion Nites recently in the final of the 27th version of the Tournament of Champions at the Catty playground.
Catasauqua is confident that their overall summer performance can be a prelude toward a successful winter season.
The Roughies recently ended a busy summer schedule with a strong showing at SportsFest. In the tournament, they opened with an avenged win over Quakertown before they dropped games to Easton and Wayne (NJ).
It marked the end to a two-month span in which the Roughies played 30 games in 62 days with their participation in SportsFest, the North Catty and Catty leagues and the Stellar Tournament.
When their season began, Catasauqua’s softball program had expectations to get back to the postseason, but their aspirations beyond that likely wouldn’t materialize.
All-American Hannah Edwards and a small core of returnees would anchor a club that wondered if they could sufficiently fill a roster. There were exactly eight players on their roster before the season began.
As long as he can remember, James Snyder had been around the Tournament of Champions.
It has been a summer staple for him and his brother, Andrew, as their father, Eric, began the tournament 27 years ago. There has been a cavalcade of memories he and his family, from the choices of watching, working , and playing.
This summer, though, Snyder can reach a new pinnacle with the tournament.
Thinking back, Zack Bradley sees his junior year on the Catasauqua football team as it were yesterday.
It was then that Bradley started at quarterback and began to rewrite the Roughies and Colonial League record book as well as leading his team to one of the most prolific two-year runs in school history.
During that year, Bradley threw for over 2,100 yards and 31 touchdowns, the first step for more than 5,000 passing yards and 74 touchdowns in his career.
Caught up in the moment with his team, Rod Berger believes he can pitch for quite some time.
After he enjoyed a successful season with the varsity team, Berger was also one of the main reasons the Catasauqua entry in the Lehigh Valley Connie Mack League (LVCM) made to the state tournament. The Roughies dropped a 4-2 decision to Hellertown in the LVCM playoffs, but they qualified for the state tournament with a third-place regular season finish.
It was a rainy, summer day in 1990 and Eric Snyder recalled writing the letter that began Catty’s annual Tournament of Champions (ToC), which has withstood the test of time.
“I remember putting together the letter about having the tournament,” stated Snyder, the longtime tournament director and high school boys’ basketball coach. “I thought it could be a good idea and that it could work.
“The only factor that didn’t work was rotating the site of the tournament every year.”
For the Catasauqua Connie Mack team, it was an ending that wasn’t fitting.
The Roughies had a memorable season come to an abrupt halt on the fifth day of the double-elimination Connie Mack State Tournament at Limeport Stadium Tuesday night.
Catty dropped a 7-1 decision to Warrington of the Bux-Mont League, a team that was seeded first in their league with an regular season 18-2 record.
The defeat gave the Roughies an overall 17-8 mark, a tremendous turnaround from a 2-18 season last year.
Entering the state Connie Mack Tournament for the first time since 2012, Catasauqua was trying to keep an even keel mixed with plenty of motivation.
“We have seen all of the teams from our league and we’re going out there to have some fun,” said head coach Jim Kober before the start of states. “We just have to go out and play ball like we have all season. I think our guys will respond.”
Nate Pontician figured it would be a different year. It was not only his senior year, but also a year in which he experienced some shifts in his athletic career.
As he has over the years, Pontician handled everything in stride and went about it with his workmanlike approach.
“I knew it was my last year and I tried not to think about it that much,” he said. “But I knew I would have fun doing it. I played a new sport and I’m really glad that I did it. It was one of the experiences this year that I won’t forget and it was a lot different than any other year.”