Northampton’s senior night was and proved to be the perfect setting.
The Konkrete Kids entered their senior night and final game of the regular season in a must-win situation to gain their eighth consecutive district playoff berth.
They began the final week needing just one win in their final three games, after an impressive four-game winning streak brought them back in the running.
But the Kids hit the skids when they dropped consecutive games to Parkland (9-1) and Whitehall (7-1). It was time to respond and they quickly did against Nazareth.
Cole Rufe isn’t satisfied. He may never be.
However, the senior could reach some satisfaction with the Northampton baseball team this spring. He is a key member of the Konkrete Kids’ rotation that certainly will shape their season.
“I am never satisfied in what I do,” said the junior. “Whatever I do, I figure that I can do better. But I feel like I am where I should be at this point of the season. I know I just have to keep working hard.
“If I can be the leader in pitching (categories), then maybe I’ll be satisfied.”
Northampton’s track program had a productive two days at the East Penn Conference meet as well as during the regular season.
The Konkrete Kids had six medal winners at the EPC meet, and each of them advanced to the PIAA District 11 meet at Whitehall High School this week. Overall, the Kids sent 22 girls and 19 boys to the two-day event, which was pushed backed to Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
“We’ve had a pretty good year,” said head coach Tim Caffrey. “All of our athletes performed well and they should continue to succeed in the district meet.
For the Northampton baseball team, it certainly was gut-check time.
Head coach Mick Sugra envisioned his team getting into the play-in game of the District 11 Class 6A tournament.
But the Konkrete Kids entered Wednesday night’s season finale at home needing a win over Nazareth on their senior night to grab a spot. That result was past Press deadlines.
They had a 9-10 record and were in the midst of a roller-coaster two weeks that saw them potentially peaking at the right time to treading water near the bottom.
Kyle Morin knew this could be a special year for him. So far, the senior is doing his part to help his teammates make a district run.
Through Northampton’s first 14 games of the season, Morin was among the team leaders in batting average (. 469) and hits (23).
But for Morin, it runs deeper.
Over the past four years, Morin has watched how the Konkrete Kids’ program has operated, and he has realized it was time to become totally immersed.
When he walked into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Northampton head baseball coach Mick Sugra admittedly was in awe.
“Here’s little me right in the middle of all of this baseball history,” said Sugra. “It really stops you in your tracks.
“I have been around baseball my while life, but this is the first time in 40 years that I have been to something like this. It’s crazy”
Over the past two weeks, Northampton’s baseball team has fallen victim to Murphy’s law.
For the Konkrete Kids, whatever can possibly can go wrong has for them. Monday’s 18-13 slugfest loss to Allentown Central Catholic marked their fifth consecutive defeat leaving them with a 5-8 overall record, having a number of games in which they led eventually flipped against them by a big one-run inning.
Also, the Kids recently had four players leave for a school conference, causing them to miss a few games.
One bad inning.
For the past few weeks, it is the one facet that has troubled the Northampton baseball team.
In three of their four defeats, the Konkrete Kids have been victimized by the one inning that could easily reverse their record from 5-4 to 8-1.
“It has been 18 of 21 innings,” reflected Kids’ head coach Mick Sugra. “It is a one-run inning. We’re controlling it by putting guys on base. We have to be able to recognize when it happens. We won 18 of the 21 innings.
“It has been a roller coaster for us.”
Throughout his baseball career, Brittain Shander has managed to stay within the fundamentals. The Northampton junior is witnessing how his approach is paying dividends for him and his team this season.
“I just try to keep it simple and keep my balance,” said Shander in reference to his batting stance. “I just go out there and try as hard as I can. I haven’t really tried anything new. I just try to hit the ball as square as I can.”
When they dropped a pair of consecutive games to Emmaus and Allentown Central Catholic, Northampton’s baseball team suddenly had its momentum stopped.
However, the Kids rebounded with an impressive 10-0 win over Dieruff Monday, but they couldn’t stay on track as they dropped a 6-3 decision to Parkland Tuesday.
After they won their first three games in impressive fashion, the Kids now have lost three of their last four games (4-3).
The Kids suffered consecutive defeats, a 10-0 defeat to Emmaus and a 7-2 defeat to Central Catholic.