August 22, 2016 |
It's not always easy for a quarterback and receiver to get on the same page. It takes precision timing, a strong feel for each other's abilities, and lots of practice reps. This year in Southeastern Pennsylvania, a number of top-notch signal-callers and rock-solid pass catchers have that special bond. It should translate into plenty of eye-popping aerial hookups. Last season's most prolific passer is back. Stephen Sturm threw for a whopping 3,100 yards and 31 touchdowns while leading Perkiomen Valley to a 10-2 record and the PIAA District 1 Class 4A quarterfinals.
July 24, 2016 |
READING - As soon as Jorge Alfaro signed with the Texas Rangers in 2010, his focus shifted to doing whatever he could to make it to the majors. But Alfaro grew up playing the outfield, third base, and shortstop. He didn't have any catching experience and the Rangers moved him behind the plate anyway. He wasn't expecting it. But he wasn't surprised, either. Alfaro was ready to do whatever was asked of him. "I will play anything," Alfaro said. "But I really like catching [now]
July 10, 2016 |
ALLENTOWN - Andrew Knapp has had a productive July so far, pulling himself out of a late-June slump. He entered Friday batting .368 with a .952 OPS in his last five games. While there is still plenty of baseball left this season, Knapp said he was encouraged by his recent progress, which has brought his average to .266. The starting catcher for triple-A Lehigh Valley began trending downward last month. From June 19 to 29, he had only seven hits, all singles, in 37 at-bats (.189), with one RBI. Self-aware and focused on his goal - becoming an everyday catcher in the big leagues - Knapp diagnosed the problem: poor pitch selection.
June 19, 2016 |
You can judge Maggie Balint by the speed of her fastball. You can judge the senior by the way her rise fools batters into swinging when it is out of the zone. You can judge her by the number of strikeouts and wins she has accumulated over the years. It's all impressive, stunning actually. But all of that is just part of the picture, a fraction as to why the righthanded Oregon recruit is the Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania softball player of the year for the third consecutive season.
May 30, 2016 |
Aidan Baur hesitated for a moment when he saw the ball bounce away from the catcher and start rolling at a decent pace toward the backstop. "Then I heard my coach [Kevin Schneider] screaming, 'Go, go, go,' " he said. "Once I took off, I knew I had it. " Baur easily scored from third base on a wild pitch, giving Neumann-Goretti a dramatic, 3-2, walk-off victory over St. Joseph's Prep in Saturday afternoon's Catholic League baseball final at sun-splashed Immaculata University. N-G's fifth crown in eight seasons came in highly improbable fashion.
May 17, 2016 |
For Delran catcher Ben Youngberg, there's the action during the baseball game - the pitches he receives, the throws he makes, the times when he gets to bat and run the bases. Then there's everything else. Youngberg is a top hitter and standout defensive catcher. He has led a Delran resurgence that has the Bears back in the race for the Burlco Patriot title and looming as a legitimate threat in the Central Jersey Group 2 tournament. But his greatest contributions might be in those big gaps between the action, when Youngberg is mentoring his pitchers, directing his teammates in the field, and talking it up in the dugout area.
May 11, 2016 |
MIAMI - Derek Dietrich lowered his shoulder into Carlos Ruiz, and the Phillies catcher's mask went flying as two bodies smashed Saturday night. Ruiz thudded to the ground with the ball secured in his mitt. The Phillies dugout erupted as a stoic Ruiz shuffled toward them. He could still take a hit. "They were excited about Chooch," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's a tough guy. " Ruiz has provided the Phillies so much in 18 years, ever since he signed in Panama for $8,000 and earned $31 million in the majors.
April 30, 2016 |
WASHINGTON - Carlos Ruiz ducked out of the visitors clubhouse on Thursday afternoon and headed to the indoor batting cage at Nationals Park as he continued to adjust to his role as a backup catcher. Ruiz was not in the lineup for Thursday's 3-0 win over the Nationals. He started just nine of the team's first 22 games. But when he plays, Ruiz has proven to be productive. He has 10 hits in his first 34 at-bats. Ruiz has hit three home runs, one more than he hit all of last season.
April 19, 2016 |
The ninth inning ended with Coatesville first baseman Dom Ricevuto collecting a ground ball and running to the bag for the out. The Raiders dispersed and their opponent - Avon Grove - emerged from the dugout. That's when the umpire yelled, "International tiebreaker. " Right, the international tiebreaker rule. They hadn't gone over "ITB" yet, Avon Grove ace Maggie Balint thought to herself. In all of the practices before and during the season and the extra time spent after practice with her mother, Jennifer, ITB never came up. That wouldn't be a problem for Avon Grove.
April 7, 2016 |
CINCINNATI - The changing of the starter in the shin guards really took place in the middle of last season when Pete Mackanin replaced Ryne Sandberg as the Phillies manager. During Mackanin's 88 games filling out the lineup card, Cameron Rupp started at catcher 53 times, and Carlos Ruiz made only 33 starts. It was obvious what was happening, but now it is official that the job belongs to Rupp. Before being deferential to Ruiz, a guy who will one day be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame, by giving him the opening-day start Monday against the Cincinnati Reds, Mackanin made it clear that Rupp is going to get the bulk of the catching assignments this season.