Andrew Amaro OPC `11 and Kenny Koplove OPC `12 are wearing

Transcription

Andrew Amaro OPC `11 and Kenny Koplove OPC `12 are wearing
Two for
the Show
Andrew Amaro OPC ’11 and Kenny Koplove OPC ’12 are wearing
the Fightin’ red and white and hoping to lead a Phillies revival.
by Mark F. Bernstein OPC ’79
Approaching from the south, the road
into Williamsport, Pa., goes right past
Howard J. Lamade Stadium, home of the
Little League World Series. On a warm
August afternoon, it is packed with young
people chasing their dreams.
A few miles to the north, a group of
slightly older young men chase their
dreams at Susquehanna Bank Park, home
of the Williamsport Crosscutters of the
New York-Penn League. This summer, that
team included two players familiar to Penn
Charter fans: Andrew Amaro OPC ’11 and
Kenny Koplove OPC ’12.
Six PC Athletes Sign to Play Division I
Approximately 20 percent of each Penn Charter graduating class is recruited
to play sports in college. Currently, alumni are competing in the ACC, Ivy, Patriot,
Centennial, NESCAC, CACC, SCIAC, SoCon and Big 10 conferences. PC expects more
athletes to sign at the February and April 2016 deadlines.
With parents, extended family, coaches, friends and teachers watching, six PC studentathletes signed letters of intent in November to play their sport in six Division I schools.
Name University
Ken Bergmann
University of Connecticut
Drew Gallant
University of Massachusetts
Jean Gleason
Drexel University
Sean McKee
Fairfield University
Emily Smith
Elon University
Sally Stanley
University of North Carolina More photos on flickr.com/photos/penncharter/sets.
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Sport
Baseball
Lacrosse
Crew
Lacrosse
Track and Field, Cross Country Crew
The Crosscutters are the Phillies’ shortseason rookie league team, one of the
lowest rungs on the long ladder that, for a
talented few, will someday lead to Citizens
Bank Park. And the PC pair are eagerly
climbing it, having both been selected
by the Phillies in last summer’s amateur
draft, Koplove in the 17th round, Amaro in
the 35th.
Amaro entered PC in the sixth grade;
Koplove was a lifer. Although they played
side by side for four years – leading Rick
Mellor OPC ’69’s squad to the 2009 InterAc title along the way – they have been
competing against each other for as long as
they can remember in AAU ball.
Koplove was a star pitcher and shortstop
for the Quakers, a three-time all-state and
first team all-Inter-Ac selection. “Kenny
was born to be a baseball player,” Mellor
said. As a freshman, Koplove was named
the Southeast Pennsylvania Rookie of the
Year, and as a senior he was named the
Gatorade/ESPN Pennsylvania Player of the
Year. But Duke University, which recruited
him, wanted him to play only shortstop.
Though he pitched just two innings for the
Fall 2015 •
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Blue Devils as a freshman and none as a
sophomore, Koplove still wanted to pitch.
Before last season, his manager agreed to
let him try. Koplove proved so good that
he was able to hold down both positions,
setting a team record with 11 saves while
hitting .275 as the team’s regular shortstop.
That brought Koplove to the attention of
major league scouts. In June, he was sitting
by the computer in his parents’ house
in South Philadelphia when his agent
called. The Phillies wanted to draft him,
but first they needed to know if he would
sign a contract if they did. Koplove and
his parents had a quick decision to make.
Signing meant leaving Duke before he
had earned his degree, but the chance to
fulfill a lifelong dream to play professional
baseball – and for the Phillies – made the
decision easy.
“Your hometown team, you can’t do
any better than that,” he explained. After
buying himself a new glove, Koplove put the
rest of his signing bonus in the bank. He
intends to finish his studies once his playing
days are over.
(Previous page) Andrew Amaro OPC ’11 at bat for the Williamsport Croscutters. (Above) Kenny Koplove
OPC ’12 in action for the Williamsport Crosscutters.
The choice to sign with the Phillies was also
a no-brainer for Amaro. He was an all-InterAc second baseman who was as hot on the
base paths as he was at the plate; as a senior,
We’re psyched!
Sports writer Ted Silary OPC ’69, retired from a 36-year career
at the Philadelphia Daily News, will be on campus several days a
week writing about and photographing PC athletics. His work
will appear online at penncharter.com/sportszone.
Silary will continue to publish TedSilary.com, his popular website
about high school sports.
Silary has covered high school sports in Philadelphia since December
1975, first for two years for the old Philadelphia Bulletin, then from December 1977 through
August 2013 for the Philadelphia Daily News. At Penn Charter, he wrote for The Mirror and, as a
senior, wrote a weekly wrapup on PC sports for the now-defunct Germantown Courier. A lifer
at Penn Charter, he played varsity football and basketball.
On his website, Silary explains that he had opportunities to “move up” to college or
professional beats at the Daily News, but politely declined. “Why would I give up the best job at
this paper? There’s nothing more enjoyable than reporting on the triumphs of young people.”
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he stole 16 bases and hit .400. The Phillies
drafted him in the 47th round in 2011,
but he decided to attend the University of
Maryland instead. After his junior year, Amaro
transferred to the University of Tampa and led
the team to the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Even so, it was not certain that he would
be drafted. In order to avoid hanging on
every selection during the three-day draft,
he decided to stay off the Internet. He
learned of his selections during a pickup
basketball game when his phone began to
buzz with congratulatory phone calls. One
might think that Amaro’s uncle, Ruben
OPC ’83, then the Phillies’ general manager,
would have tipped his nephew off, but he
played it close to the vest.
Both Koplove and Amaro have had strong
family support. In addition to Amaro’s uncle,
his grandfather played for the Phillies in the
1960s, while his father, Dave OPC ’80, played
briefly in the Chicago Cubs organization.
Koplove’s older brother, Mike, a Chestnut
Hill Academy alumnus, played in the majors
for seven years and is now a scout for the
Los Angeles Angels; and sister Erica OPC ’08
was a three-time All-Inter-Ac softball pitcher
for PC and had an ERA of under 2.00 on two
championship teams.
Koplove recalls one particular welcometo-the-minors moment this summer, when
he surrendered his first professional home
run. Holding a 7-1 lead against the Vermont
Lake Monsters, Koplove fell behind in the
count to the first batter he faced leading off
the seventh inning.
“It was the [ninth] hitter [in the batting
order],” he explained, “so I said, ‘I’m just
going to throw a fastball down the middle and
whatever happens, happens.’” That may have
worked in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but
not in the New York-Penn League. The batter
launched a towering home run over the left
field wall. It taught Koplove (who won the
game anyway) a valuable lesson: “Well you
can’t do that anymore. Every single pitch, you
have to be locked in.”
Amaro played off the bench for the
Crosscutters but says he does not feel
overmatched by life as a professional. “It’s
similar to college ball except we’re getting
paid,” he explained. “The adjustment has been
not drastic at all. You sleep in, lift weights,
spend eight hours at the park, and then repeat
every day.” It’s what he loves to do.
“Andrew is going to be a baseball lifer,”
Mellor predicted. “He’s going to coach
somewhere.”
The pair performed well in their debut
seasons. Koplove finished with a 2-3 record,
striking out 27 batters in 34 innings. Amaro
hit .218 playing first base, right field and
designated hitter, and was sent up briefly to
play for the Phillies’ minor league affiliate
in Lakewood, N.J. The old high school
teammates often make it a point to sit
together on the long team bus rides.
Both say they are thrilled to be chasing
their boyhood dreams, but in almost any
situation it is easier to get Koplove to do
the talking.
“I’m playing a child’s game, and it’s
awesome,” he gushed. “I get to watch nine
innings of baseball every night against
future big leaguers.”
Who knows? Maybe those future big
leaguers will include two OPCs. For legions
of hungry Phillies fans, they can’t get there
fast enough. PC
Doc Tops 300
Doc Mittica, a founder and architect of PC softball, has been racking
up the stats over the years, including a milestone 300th win.
by Ben Skinner OPC ‘15
Donald J. Mittica is known to his players and his patients –
he is a licensed chiropractor with a practice in Lafayette Hill
– as Doc.
Doc started the Penn Charter softball team from scratch
in 1992 and has built an impressive program and record of
achievement. He has a 308-141 record in 24 seasons, with the
300th win coming on May 1, 2015. In those seasons his teams
have won seven Inter-Ac titles and, just last season, one state
independent school title. He is the only head coach our
softball program has had since its inception.
Mere stats do not define or represent what Doc strives to
accomplish as a coach. This is not to say that Doc has not pushed and coached his girls to
victory, but to him there is more to coaching than a win or a loss.
To Doc, the true success of a coach is determined by how much an athlete grows as an
individual. Doc coaches softball, and he coaches about life.
Mikayla Cimino OPC ’15 recalled that one of Doc’s life lessons is that skill and talent
will only take one so far, but that heart and passion will make one great. “Doc was always
reminding us that we were in the driver’s seat and that if we wanted to do big things, we
have the talent to do so, but we need to find the heart and energy in order to come out
on top,” Cimino said.
Doc teaches respect, said sophomore Ciara McGee, and confidence: “One of my
favorite things that he said to us this season was to respect everyone but fear no one.”
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