LANSDALE >> In North Penn the past, present and future are interconnected as closely as the seams that hold the seams on the surface of a baseball.
Over the past 17 years, the Knights have won three state titles, two District 1 titles, five suburban league titles and sent dozens of players to the next level. Of course, the history of the program goes far beyond that, and in a baseball-rich community like Lansdale doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, so the Knights each year set aside time to honor this past with a bow to the present and their future.
Despite the untimely rain that washed away a full day of festivities, North Penn was able to honor its class at the 2022 Hall of Fame on Saturday by introducing Randy Mauer, Kevin Christie, Matt Albe and Robbie Zinmeister before playing with Hatborough, which stopped at the weather. Horsham at Weaver Field.
“None of us would be here now if it weren’t for all the people who were before us,” Knights coach Kevin Manera said. “It’s important for our players to see how the guys get into the Hall of Fame, but also to hear about what kind of people they are and what kind of players, and I hope they learn from that.
“The four guys who came today, like all the other players we introduced, were some of the best players North Penn ever had, but they also played the game right.”
Saturday’s game was to kick off “Baseball Day” as part of the Lansdale 150 celebration, which will continue throughout the summer. The Knights and Hatters, who graciously agree to compete with North Penn each year in the inaugural game hall, were suspended in the fourth inning when Hatborough-Horsham led 1-0 as bad weather also washed away Philly’s appearance. . A fanatical and two-night vintage baseball doubleheader that would present the rules of the late 1800s at the dawn of the sport.
Baseball and Lansdale have gone hand in hand for decades. From late March to late August, it’s hard to find a day on the calendar if the community hadn’t played baseball. Whether it’s high school trips to North Penn or Lansdale Catholic during their spring seasons to various levels of the Legion, Connie Mack and youth baseball all summer before dusk, the Perky and Pen-Del leagues, which run until early fall, are likely a baseball game takes place somewhere in Lansdale on a certain day.
Chances are, someone in these games has some connection to the Knights.
“Baseball is very much alive in this community,” said Manero, who on Friday night led a discussion on the history of the place in Lansdale. “In our community there are huge people with many programs who volunteer to spend time to give children a great start. Nor-Gwyn, The Gunners, Montgomery, Hatfield-Tawamensin, Raiders North Penn all teach these children from an early age to be good teammates.
“The future of our program depends on the quality of public baseball, where every child can afford to play, and every child learns to play right by making great friendships with teammates, that’s what lasts. I like that baseball is so alive here. “
A weekly camp is held every summer in North Penn, where current players act as advisors to coaches, helping to link the future to the present, and Manero said more than 200 young players have already registered in June.
The four recruits who are part of this year’s Hall of Fame knew a lot about winning and even more about how to be great teammates while working with North Penn. Mower, a 2006 graduate, was a key part of the feed rotation and part of the 2005 District 1 Championship team, and Christie, a 2008 class, was also the District Champion.
Olba and Zinmeister, who grew up on the same street, were the catalyst for old age in 2009 when the Knights won their first PIAA title under former coach Bob McCreery. All four continued to play at the college level, and Zinmeister is still shutting down with the same intensity as the veteran player in the Perky League.
“Apart from playing together, these guys hung out and spent a lot of time together,” Manero said. “When you’re on the field surrounded by people you like in your life, you naturally play harder and you don’t need to think about it. It’s extra equipment that comes from somewhere, it’s very organic, and we hope that every kid who comes here will say, “I want to play baseball in high school with my best friends.”
Manner also credited the community for giving his program so many opportunities. In the last few years alone, the Knights have made several renovations to their home and planned even more, but if they ever need a place to play or a place to hold a special event like Saturday, all you have to do is make a phone call to join Weaver Field or Hostelley Field or any of the other well-kept grounds in the community.
Similarly, if someone leaves the program, it does not mean that his time is up. Former players are constantly coming back, and even their parents, Manera cited Jim Valenti and Barry Biler as recent examples after their sons Joe and Ryan graduated, remain involved in everything from a booster club to scoreboard in home games.
“It’s a cycle of really good baseball life in our community,” Manero said. “As long as these guys stay in the game and do for the next generation the same thing someone did for them, baseball can last here forever.”