Roughies optimistic about 2022
Catasauqua head baseball coach Steve Bradley and his players obviously were deflated after a five-inning shortened, 10-0 loss recently to Palmerton in the opening round District 11 Class 3A playoff game.
But Bradley and his troops relish their future as the Rough Riders will return everyone to the lineup in 2022 except current graduating seniors Austin Brett, Cole Schiffer, and Derek Troxell.
The Roughies ended this season with an overall 10-11 record, and made their first postseason appearance since 2017.
“We’re young, and I think we’ll bounce back,” added Bradley, who completed his 11th season at the helm. “We have to spend time at the plate and be aggressive.
“We hustled and we worked hard throughout the season. We grew and we got better with each game.”
Schiffer, who caught every inning behind the plate, led the Roughies with a .377 average, and he also had a team-high 20 runs and 23 hits.
After some initial doubts, Schiffer was satisfied with the season.
“This season was great, and I loved every single second of it,” he stated. “Coming into the year, we were wondering how we would play considering losing a bunch of key players last year, but we had a lot of people who stepped up and played key roles.
“Every year, your ultimate goal is to make the playoffs, and this year we did. We all had a bond this year and we genuinely came together as a family, which led us to having such success.
“Overall, my high school career was amazing. The only problem was COVID last year. My coaches and my family were so supportive over the years.”
Troxell led the team with 16 walks, and freshman Hunter Reitz hit .304 with a team-high 17 RBIs. Brett, who played for the first time since eighth grade, spent his time in the outfield.
Troxell, who played first base, was grateful to play, especially after he injured his shoulder during basketball.
“I was happy I got a chance to play,” he said. “It was very important to play with Cole Schiffer one more time. We have been playing together for a very long time. He supported me through basketball, and I wanted to make sure that I supported him through baseball.”
Junior Brandon Jenny and sophomore McKay Lewis both led the team with three wins. Jenny posted a 3-4 record (4.27 ERA) with a team-high 52 strikeouts and 34 walks, while Lewis had a 3-1 mark with a 2.94 ERA and 23 strikeouts and 16 walks.
“Brandon (Jenny) has another year to develop a third pitch,” added Bradley. “McKay Lewis did a nice job, and he developed into a steady pitcher for us.”
Bradley believes his program can take the next step.
“We have a good lineup in place, and the three seniors will be tough to replace,” he said. “We have some growing up to do, and once we do that, we’ll be OK.”