Northampton’s and Catasauqua’s baseball seasons got underway Monday afternoon, but it certainly was a long journey to get there.
The series of nor’easter snow storms that rocked the Lehigh Valley and beyond during the month of March placed practice schedules in a state of frenzy and pushed back scheduled starting dates nearly a week.
It will yet to be seen how the sudden and untimely winter weather will affect timing of hitters and pitchers as well as cause havoc on the sprinters and throwers.
Northampton baseball coach Mick Sugra likely is to remember one moment of the season before it even began.
Last Sunday, the Konkrete Kids hosted a youth clinic in which current players taught and worked with elementary-age students.
“The younger kids look up to the high school players as role models,” said Sugra. “That’s where it all starts. A connection is made there and it keep going.”
As a sophomore, Zach Gula figured it was time to take his game to the next level.
After a productive summer, Gula was in the running for one of the Konkrete Kids’ starting positions after a number of them had been created due to graduation.
He took the initiative and never looked back.
Heading into the final phase of the season, Northampton knew what it needed to do to secure itself a better playoff seeding.
They did just that.
Northampton’s boys basketball season was a myriad of highlights, some that may not be achieved for some time.
There was a 13-game winning streak that clinched an early district berth, the lone East Penn Conference team to beat Bethlehem Catholic during the regular season with a buzzer beater, and an appearance in a district championship game for the first time in 45 years among other events that dotted the season.
Mike Schneider vividly remembers his senior year at Northampton.
It was 1972 and the former athletic director was a member of the boys basketball team under then head coach Bob Nemeth - that was the last Northampton team to win a District 11 title.
In that year, the Konkrete Kids downed Easton, 60-57, behind Greg Vogel’s 16 points and Carl “Yogi” Christman added 13 in the win.
Northampton’s surge this season easily can be credited to the Konkrete Kids’ offense, paced by seniors Aidan Ellwood and Cory Weisenberger.
Both of them have averaged close to 20 points per contest and the Kids’ other remaining starters and their bench certainly has helped the cause. The Kids have averaged 59 points per game over their 23 contests (16-7).
Some situations in sports – and life – you never forget.
It was many years ago when I first met Coy Stampone. He was a basketball coach in the Nazareth program under then head coach Charlie McGarvey, and we met as instructors at a summer basketball camp at the school.
At approximately 6-foot-4, Coy is an imposing figure with his height and solid stature. But you soon realize he is a genuine, frank individual with his great sense of humor. He is the type of person who will always do you a favor if he can.
Northampton’s boys basketball team achieved a major goal when it qualified for the upcoming district playoffs, and the Konkrete Kids will see a familiar opponent for the third time this season.
However, the Kids can take another major step with a district win this Saturday that will propel them into the PIAA state tournament, as the top four teams in the district 6A bracket will advance.
Northampton’s hockey team is in a fixed mood in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL).
Coming off a 10-3 win over Beca/ Central recently, the Konkrete Kids will maintain their fourth seed and likely spot in the upcoming LVSHL playoffs. The Kids are in a position to face top-seeded and undefeated Parkland in a single elimination game that would lead to a best-of-three championship round.
Yet, the Kids haven’t lived up to preseason expectations with a 6-8-0 record.