In 2001, Anthony Recker left Catasauqua High School after a stellar four-year career and headed to Alvernia College to continue his baseball career.
Four years later, Recker began a well-traveled professional career that started as Oakland’s 18th pick in the 2005 draft. So far, Recker has experienced a busy docket at both the minor and major league levels, spanning over 13 teams in five different organizations.
Recently, he made his closest stop to home, just a few miles away.
The week Catasauqua’s Connie Mack team has their future in their own hands.
Catty began the week with an overall 14-4 record and needed to win their final two games this week to gain one of the top four spots in the Lehigh Valley Connie Mack (LVCM). The top four teams will receive an automatic entry in the state Connie Mack tournament later this month.
If they either split or lose the final two games, Catty will need to win a playoff game in the LVCM tournament that will begin next week in order to gain a bid.
Catasauqua continues to have a productive summer season as the Roughies begin to wind down their campaign.
The Roughies will play their final weeks in the Catty and North Catty leagues, where they have been progressing each week.
Also, the Roughies will meet Nazareth in the opening round of the Stellar Tournament Friday night.
It has been the beginning of a year of maturing for the Roughies.
Catty will begin the winter season with a roster laced with juniors along with a few sophomores and freshmen. Returnee Colin Hawk will be the lone senior.
Zac Edwards always would rather be playing baseball.
However, he will need to be patient to get back into the game again.
The former Catasauqua High School standout is currently going through rehabilitation for a left shoulder injury that has plagued him occasionally throughout the past three seasons. It was the same injury that caused him to miss the final six games of the regular season for the Lebanon Valley Dutchmen baseball team.
At the end of the varsity baseball season, assistant coach Jim Kober asked head coach Steve Bradley how he could approach the entry in the Lehigh Valley Connie Mack League.
“He (Bradley) told me to teach them how to win,” recalled Kober, who is managing the Roughies this summer in LVCM. “They (varsity) had several games they could have won this year, but they didn’t know how to finish games.
“They were right there, but they were still in the middle of the road. They have really turned it around this summer.”
The Roughies have.
They began their stretch run with the daunting task of playing five games in four days. With that came the challenge to win four of their final six games to clinch a district playoff spot.
The Roughie baseball team didn’t achieve their goal of a playoff spot, but they did manage to reassure themselves of a bright future ahead.
“It started off good, but we had some tough games,” said head coach Steve Bradley, who watched his club drop four-straight after an opening win. “Our pitchers did a great job, but we lacked the offensive power like we did all season.
For the Catasauqua Connie Mack team, the ride continues.
Since the start of the season, the Roughies have been a force in the Lehigh Valley Connie Mack League. Beginning Monday’s play, they had an overall 11-3 record and held the top spot in the standings.
It has been a 360-degree spin from a team that struggled through a 2-18 season last year. Having a crop of players from the varsity team certainly has helped change the landscape.
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.