Beginning this week, the task for the Northampton baseball was simple – win one game to qualify for districts.
The K-Kids (10-8, 8-8)accomplished that with a 6-5 win over Nazareth Tuesday night. Nick DiMieri drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in his first ever varsity at bat to push the Kids into euphoria and the postseason.
It may have sounded simple enough, but head coach Mick Sugra wasn’t taking anything for granted.
Aja Blount and Victoria Keenan both not only provide Northampton’s girls’ basketball program with a positive present, but they also will be key players in the Konkrete Kids’ future.
However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Over the years, both girls’ families have been close and they have played together on several occasions.
This past season, Blount and Keenan were among a large group of underclassmen who helped shape the Kids’ overall 18-10 record this past season.
Heading into this season, Jared Angerman knew he would have to make the most of his opportunities.
The junior had a good offseason and became a strong candidate for the Konkrete Kids’ second base job. He didn’t waste any time securing the position.
In a preseason scrimmage, Angerman went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, and he realized that his varsity playing time was about to greatly increase.
“Coach (Mick Sugra) told me to make the most of my chances,” recalled Angerman. “He put me in a game and I got a couple of hits. I kept hitting and got more playing time.
Over each of the past few seasons, Northampton’s baseball team has pieced together midseason winning streak, one that has helped propel them into the postseason.
Beginning this week, the Konkrete Kids found themselves with an overall 5-5 record and impressively put together the start of their usual winning ways.
The Kids edged Stroudsburg, 7-5, and then walloped East Stroudsburg South, 13-0. The victories snapped a four-game losing streak, a downslide that eroded any early season momentum.
If the script holds to form, the Kids will be back in the playoff hunt.
When workouts began for the upcoming season, Northampton head track coach Tim Caffrey simply was happy to step foot back on the high school track.
For the previous two years, the Konkrete Kids were nomadic athletes, traveling to different schools as temporarily calling Whitehall home as their track was under construction.
This season, the Kids are back on their home turf with a new sense of comfort as well as a budding sense of development in the process.
To Mike Bodnar, baseball has been a staple in his life.
The Northampton senior practically was raised on baseball, as his father has been a lifelong coach and had been his coach during a time period.
Yet, Bodnar has been candid about his progression and performance through the years. In fact, he easily is his own worst critic.
In the process, he also has worked to be the ultimate team player
With his club having a 3-3 record to begin the week, Northampton head baseball coach Mick Sugra wasn’t sure if the proverbial glass was half empty or half full.
It appears to be the time for an early wake-up call.
“I don’t know right now,” said Sugra. “We have talent and we were playing well. Right now, it is hard to gauge where we are.”
Upon graduation, Nick DeMieri plans to enter the military. It is a route that he recently planned, a trek that will help him serve others as well as his country.
Throughout his baseball career at Northampton the past few years, DeMieri has followed a similar path. He hasn’t relished being in the spotlight as arguably the Konkrete Kids’ top hurler, but he would rather be viewed as doing what he can to help his team.
It is his selfless approach that could produce some high rankings for DeMieri this year and beyond.
With successful seasons behind them this winter, Northampton’s boys’ middle school and freshmen teams appear to have a bright future.
The Kids’ middle school teams had strong years, as the 8th grade “A” team had a 14-4 record and the 7th grade “B” unit posted a 15-3 mark. It was a year that was somewhat surprising for both. Another interesting aspect was the 61 boys who tried out.
“The season went well for the “A” team,” said head coach Scott Johnson. “We figured we would have a strong group. The “B” team had a better year than we expected.
This past season, Northampton’s junior varsity team understood the meaning of character.
The Konkrete Kids’ junior unit finished with a 13-9 record and they also managed to defeat Parkland this season, registering a key victory on the Trojans’ home floor.
But the glaring characteristic was the final outcome of games.
The JV team was involved in a series of games decided in the final minutes, many of them that can be considered character builders for the future.