Rod Berger was ready for this season.
The Catasauqua junior had a handful of appearances on the varsity last season, but he knew his time would come.
With the bulk of the pitching among eight starters gone from last year’s unit, Berger suddenly was thrust into the limelight. However, he didn’t waste any time.
During the offseason, Berger engaged in an intense weight training program and also took the mound on a regular basis for a traveling team during the fall.
So far, his mission has paid off.
Last season, Janae Matos discovered what college softball was all about.
The former Catasauqua standout hit .211 behind the plate in 34 games as a freshman catcher for the Moravian College Greyhounds, who advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals and finished with an overall 38-8 record.
It was a bumpy initial ride than eventually turned into a smooth one.
As a result, Matos was named one of the team’s captains and quickly has elevated her game to the next level.
To Alex Monteverde, baseball currently can be considered life.
And, his teammates and coaches are happy his life is based in Catasauqua.
After spending the past three seasons at Allen, Monteverde joined the Roughies’ this spring. Even though the season is still early, Monteverde already has made a major impression as he has been among the team leaders in hits, average, and RBIs as well as playing a solid center field.
Notably, Monteverde had three triples, four RBIs and threw out a runner at home from center field through the team’s first three games.
The night before literally taking over the reins of Catasauqua’s softball pitching staff, Alexia Reichl wasn’t nervous.
The sophomore previously has been on the big stage a few years earlier on a tournament team. She saw time in spots of relief last season for starter Alexi Ayache, who since has graduated.
Along with Reichl, head coach Bobby Thomas knows his pitcher is ready for the lead role. Reichl was a first-team, all-state choice last season as a utility player.
When asked how challenging it was for his team to win a district title, former Catasauqua head football coach Tom Falzone gave a half-hearted chuckle before his response.
“People don’t realize how difficult it was,” said Falzone in reference to the team’s title during the 2013 season. “The more you keep winning, the more stress it can put on your program to succeed.
In his high school baseball career, Corey Raysely is ready to take the next step. In one way, he almost has to do it.
Raysely began the year as one of two returning starters on the Roughies’ this spring, as the program lost eight starters from last year’s 10-11 squad that was a district qualifier. He and senior Nate Pontician will need to help lead a young squad that definitely will mature on the field this spring.
Over the past few weeks, I have begun a series about Catasauqua teams winning league, district and state titles.
I’ve enjoyed speaking to various coaches about how their teams made the trek toward a title. (Special thanks to Eric Snyder for providing me with the initial thought).
Catasauqua head track coach Glenn Reightler sees his program experiencing an ongoing maturation process this season.
The Roughies will begin the season with 42 candidates, but they did lose 18 seniors from last year’s unit. Among the most notable losses are Ricky Houser and Trinity Henderson, both of whom excelled at the league, district and state levels.
It will be a season where success will be measured late in the season.
With the bulk of returnees back, Catasauqua’s softball team is anxious to begin the 2016 campaign.
The Roughies will look to get out to a quick start with seven players back in the fold, most notably center fielder Hannah Edwards, rated as one of the top-25 players in the country by numerous media groups as well as a player that has been named to nine All-American teams.
On the mound, Alexia Reichl will carry the bulk of the pitching duties this spring. Reichl was the team’s number-two pitcher behind mainstay Lexi Ayache, who graduated in June.
Losing 13 seniors from last year’s roster, Catasauqua’s baseball team certainly will need to be flexible this season, as their roster is laced with players suiting up for varsity for the first time.
Head coach Steve Bradley certainly believes it.
“It will have to be,” responded Bradley about his team being flexible this season. “We’re likely to have some questions marks at the start of the season, probably in the outfield. But we have been ahead of schedule from last year because of the good weather we’ve had this winter.”