Some things never change when it comes to junior legion baseball in Boyertown. Lee Mecherly retired as the Bear-Cubs coach. He was replaced by Neil Fox. He is helped by his assistants - Ryan Fox (Neil’s brother), Marty Bauer and Roger Eidle.
New coaches, same result. The Bear Cubs are enjoying a very good season. They are 20-9 overall and in the hunt for the regular season championship in the Berks League.
When you take over for a legendary coach like Mecherly, you have your work cut out for you. Fox is taking over for Mecherly, retired after 38 years on the job.
“Lee (Mecherly) built that program,” said Fox. “The Bear Cubs are Lee Mecherly. That field is named after him for a reason. I played on Lee’s first junior Legion team.”
He (Fox) remembers hearing Mecherly say that “if you’re fundamentally sound and make good pitches. you should be in every ball game.’
“He’s absolutely, a tough act to follow.”
So far, so good for Fox and the Bear-Cubs. The defense and pitching has been doing well, but it’s the offense that’s been struggling. That’s what Fox is going to work on between now and the playoffs.
“It’s the goal every year to compete for a state championship,” said Fox. “You build off of pitching, and to take advantages of other teams’ mistakes.”
Fox feels that it’s tough coming in as a first-year coach because he didn’t know the level of play in the Berks County League. However, Fox feels that the expectations are to compete in the league and make it to the post season. They (the coaches) want to see the team go as far as they possibly can.
“We have to be able to execute a little bit better offensively,” said Fox. “I think we can. They have to put it into action.”
In a sport where pitching is crucial, Fox has nine kids that he could put on the mound. He feels good when any of them are pitching.
The question is, can they score enough runs to win?
“Hopefully by playing Boyertown baseball, we can scratch across a few runs,” said Fox.
Returning for the Bear Cubs are Grant Fronheiser, Tyler Mraz, Anthony Rota, Pat Maloney and Justin Weind. “Grant (Fronheiser) is a pitcher and has a very strong arm,” said Fox. “He’s been great all year.
“Tyler (Mraz) is throwing the ball very well. He pitches and plays third base for us.
Anthony (Rota) is the catcher and the team’s leading hitter. He’s has come up with some clutch hits to win games for the Bear-Cubs.
Maloney is hitting in the first or second spot in the line-up, and is playing a very strong center field. He leads the team in runs scored and stolen bases.
Weind has been strong and efficient on the mound. He leads the team in fewest pitches per inning.
There are three young players who are trying to make an impact for the Bear Cubs this season - Quinn Mason, Noah Kurtz and Tate Yergey.
Other Members of the Bear Cubs team include Eric Randall (OF), Nick Esz (IF, OF, P), Brenton Budrow (P, OF, IF), Sam Longacre (IF), Zack Benning, (P, OF), Anthony Rota (catcher), Peyton Schlott (IF, OF), Ryan Meier (OF) and Colin Maloney – (IF, OF, P)
“We have the pitching and the defense,” said Fox. “If we can scratch out a few runs, I think we should to do well. If you can come out of the Berks County Playoffs, it will prepare you for the regionals.”
Phil Haddad is a free lance writer for the Times. You can follow him on twitter @writersprtsBT