The 2018 softball season so far for the Northwestern Tigers has seen its ups and downs. The down has mostly been just one inning that tends to get away from them.
It happened again last Thursday.
With a tied game in the sixth inning, the Falcons scored five runs in the top-half of the inning, and then held on to take down the Tigers 8-3 in a Colonial League softball game at Northwestern High School.
Nate Goodolf knew he could hit better than he had over the first eight games of the season. It was not a matter of if his bat would get hot, it was just a matter of when.
That day came Saturday in Hellertown when the sophomore got moved into the leadoff spot in the lineup and took advantage. Goodolf went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs in the Tigers’ 14-0 win over Saucon Valley Saturday.
Chuck Groller knew about the experience. And he saw the youthful exuberance.
The Northwestern track and field head coach was aware that his boys and girls squads had an abundance of both.
But Groller also recognized the Tigers’ talent.
Northwestern showed that ability once again on Tuesday, with both the boys and girls sweeping Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua in a Colonial League meet.
In all three of its losses this season, the Northwestern softball team had runners on base. But in all of those setbacks the Tigers failed to get enough of those baserunners across the plate.
Monday against Wilson, the Tigers focused on getting runs in and they achieved that goal. They beat the Warriors 10-0 in six innings with their runs coming on 11 hits in the game.
“It was something that was missing the past three games,” said Northwestern head coach Josh Zimmerman. “We were getting hits but we were scattering them a lot.
Nic Henry has a way of making a good first impression on his coaches. For football coach Josh Snyder, Henry rushed for 100 yards against a good Southern Lehigh team in his first varsity start as a running back. On Saturday, Duran Porrino put him in the starting lineup against Northern Lehigh for his first varsity action with the baseball team and the freshman didn’t disappoint in Northwestern’s 13-0 win over the Bulldogs.
“I’m pretty good friends with coach Snyder and I know he had a big varsity debut for him, so I guess he likes making debuts,” said Porrino.
Maybe it was destiny.
Perhaps it was simply good fortune.
The reality, though, was that Caleb Clymer always controlled his own future.
Born into a family rich in wrestling tradition, Clymer was almost a household name before he even stepped onto the mat for Northwestern.
Caleb grew up watching brothers Ben, Scott and Bobby set the standard. All three were District 11 champions. Scott and Ben were two-time regional champions, and both also won state titles. Scott accomplished the feat in 2006, while Ben did so in 2008.
After previously leading only the girls team the past four years, Chuck Groller takes over as the boys head coach after the departure of Tim Cunningham.
The Northwestern boys team will have to replace Trevor Cunningham, who advanced to the state meet with a second-place finish in the Class 3A 300-meter hurdles, crossing the line in 39.51. Cunningham also was a Colonial League runner-up in the 110 and 300 hurdles.
The Northwestern girls track and field team returns a wealth of talent from last year’s team that went 9-2 in the Colonial League.
The Northwestern baseball team went 14-11 last season after a 1-3 start. The Tigers reached the District 11 Class 4A semifinal in 2017 and the team returns several of its key players from last season.
Northwestern head coach Duran Porrino, who returns to the helm after a year off, will look to senior pitchers Mason Vogwill and Drew White to guide the Tigers this season.
Last season, the Northwestern softball team made its presence felt by posting a 13-9 record, including a 12-6 mark in the Colonial League. The Tigers played in the league playoffs, advancing to the semifinal round. They also participated in the district postseason.
Head coach Josh Zimmerman is looking to his returning players to continue a path of success and advance even further in 2018.