Currently viewing the tag: "Catoctin Athletics"

with Michael Betteridge

Memo to Catoctin Athletics: Do NOT schedule any baseball or softball games at Boonsboro next year!

Last year, two remarkable Catoctin teams—baseball and softball—rode the bus all the way down to the tiny little town founded by Daniel Boone’s cousin, William Boone. That little Washington County town of Boonsboro was the scene of two historic battles during the Civil War: The Battle of South Mountain in 1862 and the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg a year later.

Catoctin baseball strutted into Boonsboro, riding a 13-game win streak last year, while their Lady Cougar’s compatriots just 200 yards away faced Boonsboro on the softball diamond, riding an equally impressive 6-game streak on their way eventually to the 1A State Championship. After the dust settled, both teams experienced unexplainable defeats at the hands of Boonsboro. Was that a peculiar twist of events? One would think so.  Both teams had beaten Boonsboro at home. Should we just chalk it up to a coincidence or bad juju? Maybe the bus driver made a wrong turn and went through Burkittsville on their way to Boonsboro. All of that would have been easily dismissed were it not for last month’s 2024 return visit to Boonsboro. This time, our guy and gal Cougars were not so cocky. There was no swagger or boasting on the bus. But, the results were the same. The Lady Cougars were pounded 11-1 in a five-inning mercy rule game, and the guys went down 5-2 against what many believed was an inferior team.  Both baseball teams are hovering right around .500, but Catoctin has faced much better competition than Boonsboro. On paper, they are better.  But, once again, the Catoctin baseball and softball teams had a quiet ride home on the team bus.

How can this be? Maybe, it’s the crowd or their fields at Boonsboro.  Maybe, it was that terrible music they were playing from the announcer’s table. I mean, who plays John Fogerty, Johnny Cash, and Allanah Morrisette all in the same break?

Like the Confederates did in 1863, Catoctin should blow the retreat bugle now before they even look at a return to Boonsboro next year. Or, maybe they should bring the Boonsboro Warriors a better mix tape for their games?

If you subtract that trip to Boonsboro from the season, things are looking pretty good. The boys have a good pitching rotation going with Worth, Watkins, Koenig, and Morlan. They come at you from a bunch of different angles. Green, Shipton, Grable, and Bell all have hot bats, and how about that Urbana game?  Facing the team they tied last year for the CMC baseball championship and the #1 team in the county this year, they were down 7-3 for most of the game. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Cougars rallied at 2 outs with consecutive hits from Grable, Bell, Morlan, and Ferrell. Castellow drove in the winning run 8-7, with a clutch blooper past the mound that he beat out at first. The biggest win so far this year for our baseball team! Watkins struggled against Urbana for four innings, giving up 7 runs. But Urbana is one of the best-hitting teams in the county, that shakes up pitchers with lightning-quick runners who can steal bases at will. Three of Urbana’s runs came off overthrows on runner steals, alone. Catoctin showed real guts, grit, and determination in that game. This is a team that won’t quit, no matter what.

The Lady Cougars softball team chemistry was completely altered with the loss of ace pitcher Taylor Smith.  Taylor isn’t just missed in the circle but at the plate, too. Coach Valentine adjusted the pitching rotation with Aubrey Courtney and Kassidy Kreitz in the circle. And just like their baseball counterparts, the Lady Cougars faced their CMC softball championship rivals from 2023, the Urbana Hawks, once again, back in mid-April. They dispatched the Lady Hawks easily, 10-0 in 5 innings. 

Without Taylor Smith’s dominating pitching, they no longer have the luxury of holding opponents to 2 or 3 runs. Taylor had a smokin’ rise ball that was unhittable. Now, they must rely on run production, and that is exactly what they have been doing. In their first four games of the season, they outscored opponents 56-11. That’s an average of 14 runs per game! Bralyn West is leading the county in hitting, batting .684.  Kassidy Kreitz is leading Frederick County in home runs and RBIs.  Kassidy is a double threat, hitting and pitching. She has an ERA of .51 and averages 10 strikeouts per game.  Abigail Shives and Raegan Miller are right behind her, batting in the 500s. And what can I say about Meghan Gray, the senior and University of Maryland-bound catcher for the Lady Cougars? She has stepped in to continue as a leader of this team and fill the void in the absence of her co-captain, friend, and teammate. My advice is that we erase Boonsboro from our memories and just think of it as an annual bad dream, at least for now. Oh, but I forgot, there is a strong possibility our baseball and softball teams could end up back at Boonsboro in the playoffs. That playoff journey begins on Thursday, May 9. Don’t worry… I’ll talk to the bus driver personally.

Blair Garrett

Catoctin High School athletics are pushing on amidst a turbulent spring season.

It’s no secret that difficult decisions have affected student-athletes across the country. Many seniors lost a chance to represent their schools last spring with the onset of a pandemic, unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes, in the name of public safety.

As COVID cases have begun trending downward again, high school sports have returned to action with notable restrictions. Capacity limits and mandatory masks are standard, and most fans have to find alternative means to support their hometown team.

Fortunately, Catoctin High School has made it possible for people to catch high school sports online, as they live stream both boys and girls basketball on YouTube, which can be found on the CHS athletics homepage.

Players, coaches, and any bystanders have to wear masks during the game, and the abridged schedule is limiting the amount of games and exposure students are having competing against other schools. 

Both the boys and girls basketball teams only recently returned to action, following guidelines, and their shortened season has already come to a close.

Catoctin football is set to begin its six-week season come the first week of March, and the preseason has already hit a few bumps in the road. CHS temporarily suspended practices in February, following a positive COVID-19 test in the program. Students and staff were advised to take extra precautions to avoid further delays in the already pushed-back schedule. 

If all goes according to plan, March may bring back a sense of normalcy most students haven’t had in well over a year. Fall sports like soccer, volleyball, and field hockey are all kicking off their respective seasons. Unlike basketball, outdoor sports have the potential for social distancing, so spectators may have access to see games in-person.

Widespread distribution of the vaccine has brought some hope that high school sports will finish out the spring season on a high note.

For the athletes, this year will have a different feel to it, playing fewer games and not having the opportunity to compete for state championships. The Cougars’ 2019 state championship title in football remains as the last one to this day.

The defending champions will have to battle for county supremacy instead of playing to state’s top teams in their division until next season.

Other sports still slated on the Cougars athletic calendar include golf, tennis, and cross-country.

More information on dates and times can be found on the Catoctin Athletic Calendar. All dates and times for games and practices are subject to change.

You can also catch games as they play live through Catoctin’s YouTube channel: CHSAthletics FCPS.