Rebuilding is something Brad Rauch wasn't forced to do in his first two years as Northern Valley's baseball coach.
But as Rauch begins his third season, that's exactly what he's faced with as the Chargers (1-3) begin play in the highly competitive Lehigh Valley Legion League.
Northern Valley enjoyed a tremendously successful season in Rauch's first year, as the team went 15-3 in 2011 and captured the regular season title. That momentum carried into last summer, as the Chargers went 9-9 and again earned a spot in the playoffs.
Palmerton and Northwestern have emerged as two of the Colonial League's strongest teams this season. They showed why with a back-and-forth battle on Tuesday afternoon.
The Northwestern boys edged Palmerton by a score of 80-70, while the Tiger girls picked up an 82-68 win over the Lady Bombers.
Northwestern's boys only won four events, but their depth proved to be the difference.
The Tigers (4-1) scored points in all events, placing multiple athletes in the top five on 12 occasions, which offset the seven event victories by the Bombers.
To say the Northwestern wrestling team had a tough act to follow after last year's district tournament would be an understatement. The Tigers crowned two champs last year, with Mike Ortiz (152) and Levi Veppert (182) both earning gold.
Veppert graduated, but Ortiz returned to capture his second consecutive gold medal, this time at 170-pounds. Ortiz came into the tournament as the top seed and left little doubt that he was the class of the field.