Two characteristics are likely to define the Catasauqua boys’ basketball team this winter, two that can contradict each other – lack of height and great work.
The Roughies have put a month of summer basketball in the Catasauqua League and the North Catasauqua League in their rear view mirror, and they have formed a favorable impression.
Six-foot Colin Hawk is the lone senior and 6-2 Colin Bond – the tallest player – is among a group of juniors who should make an impact. A collection of incoming freshmen and sophomores also should be in the mix.
If there is a hole to be filled because of injury, Zach Bilder believes he can fill it.
That’s exactly how he began in his role as catcher with the Roughies program.
Bilder recalled how his duties behind the plate began when the team’s starting catcher went down with an injury.
“The team was looking for a catcher and I volunteered,” said Bilder. “I had been a middle infielder most of my career. It was a big change, but I took the chance. I have been with it ever since.”
All season long, the Roughies’ offensive attack was a mainstay for them. In arguably their biggest game of the year, however, their bats went silent.
In the PIAA District 11 Class 2A championships at Parkland High School recently, the Roughies fell to Pine Grove 4-1.
With the defeat, Catasauqua ended one of its most celebrated seasons in its history with an overall 19-5 mark.
Pine Grove jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and they never looked back. Hannah Edwards singled and scored on an error to account for the Roughies’ lone run.
Serena Smith, Madison Zangl, Dani Pluchinsky, and Andrea Gubish all haven’t been regularly recognizable names for the Catty softball team on its apparent storybook campaign this season.
But each of them has been instrumental in the Roughies’ success during the regular season as well as their drive into the postseason.
It has been a special bond among all the players that has ripened and tightened with each passing day.
Seniors Hannah Edwards and Olivia Schlofer truly can appreciate every moment of their softball seasons this year.
It could have been a year of catastrophe instead of one of a possible championship.
“We had eight girls when we began practice,” recalled Edwards. “We weren’t sure at one point if we could have a team. We literally had to try and get girls out of the hallways.
“But we had more girls come out, and it could turn out to be one of the program’s best years.”
If their storied run continues this season, it certainly has the makings to be one.
Alexia Reichl isn’t awed by the big stage.
The sophomore was formally introduced under the lights last season when she gained all-state honors as a utility player with the Roughies, spending time as a second baseman — hitting .434 in the process — and also gaining her share of experience on the mound.
This season, Reichl has emerged as the team’s top hurler, replacing Alexi Ayahce, who was a mainstay on the mound the past few years.
Like her predecessors of the past, Reichl has taken to the mound early in her career and hasn’t missed a beat.
Kenzie Bradley and Tyra Brown took different paths to the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University this weekend.
And both of them, and their teammates, plan to continue to enjoy each moment.
Bradley and Brown, both sophomores, are part of the Roughies’ 400 relay team that is seeded 14th of 24 teams in their respective bracket at the championships.
Catasauqua’s track program established a strong current presence, but the Roughies also have laid a solid foundation for the future.
The Roughies had a recent respectable showing at the PIAA District 11 track and field championships, sending a relay team to the state tournament at Shippensburg University this weekend and nearly taking several individuals.
The magical ride for the Catasauqua softball team continues. A few months ago, however, it didn’t look likely.
Head coach Bobby Thomas recalled how the year began with questions to answer.
“We started the year with eight players and we were looking for some depth,” noted Thomas. “But we figured things out and we knew we could keep things going. It really has been an unbelievable year so far.”
Fortunately, it doesn’t appear the Roughies will slow down any time soon.
After a relatively strong showing in the Colonial League meet, Catasauqua took a solid contingent to the PIAA District 11 Championship Meet at Whitehall High School.
“I believe we did as well as we should have,” said veteran head coach Glenn Reightler. “Our kids performed like they should have and we did have some who did better than expected. We had a few surprises.”