The Parkland baseball team is like a close family. The program has seen many of their former players go on to play at the next level in college. And in 2015, three former Trojans battled for the same league trophy at the NCAA Division II level.
Junior Nick Rabasco (East Stroudsburg University), sophomore Damin Muth (Bloomsburg University), and freshman Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg University) competed in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Rising sophomore Jake Bartholomew had an opportunity. Missing three starters because of prior commitments, Bartholomew was thrust into the starting lineup, and did not disappoint his coaches and teammates.
Bartholomew took the initiative and knocked down open shots and created offense off a zone defense, helping Parkland hold onto a 56-46 win against Nazareth last Thursday night at Whitehall High School.
Bartholomew tallied 12 of his 17 points in a second half where every point was crucial.
It had only happened one other time this season, but this one ended the year for Parkland.
The Trojans had gotten the better of 27 out of 28 opponents heading into the PIAA Class AAAA semifinal game on June 9. But they came up short for just the second time, ending their season.
Wyoming Valley West got a solid outing from starting pitcher Bill Gregory, who shut down Parkland's bats in a 5-1 at Pine Grove's Stump Stadium.
Early on in the summer, the boys basketball landscape looks nothing like what it will in mid-July, leading up to the winter season. With the Stellar and Sportsfest tournaments, and summer league playoffs, games heat up and teams usually will have their entire teams, including the head coaches.
During the regular season summer league games, players are involved in other things like vacations or AAU games.
The Parkland baseball team lost for just the second time this year when it fell last Tuesday in the PIAA semifinals, 5-1 against Wyoming Valley West. It was disappointing for the players and coaches because they had come a long way, making it past the first round of states for the first time in this three-year District 11 championship run.
On the whole, the Trojans finished 2015 at 27-2, which is the most wins in program history. That says something, for a program that has won a lot of games the last couple of seasons.
It was the matchup they wanted since an early-season loss in April, but the outcome was the same.
Undefeated Southern Lehigh once again got the better of Parkland, this time in the District 11 final. The Spartans defeated the Trojans 9-7 last Thursday at Emmaus High School.
"They are a well-coached team," said first year head coach Dawn Cipolla. "They have a lot of speed. Their goalie and defense played great."
Saying that the 2015 season was supposed to go a little differently for the Parkland boys lacrosse team is an understatement.
The Trojans fell to Easton 9-6 in the East Penn Conference title game, falling short of winning their third straight league title. Then less than a week later, Parkland was upset in the District 11 quarterfinals by Central Catholic.
"It was frustrating because I thought that we had the most talented team in the conference," said Parkland head coach Brad Schifko. "We lost some guys last year to graduation, and we were a young team still this year."
After a week off from their last game, there may have been fear of a little rust or a slow start from the Parkland girls lacrosse team in the district playoffs. But there was no such thing in Tuesday's semifinal.
Seven days after winning the East Penn Conference title, the Trojans, which received a first-round bye in districts, took on Moravian Academy for the right to play in Thursday's District 11 championship game.
On a night when all of the hype and attention was around Stroudsburg starting pitcher Mike Nikorak, it was Parkland in the end that garnered the attention.
Nikorak, who is projected to be selected in the first round of the MLB draft, had his fair share of scouts there to watch the senior right hander. But it was the Trojans staff of seniors Evan McAndrew and Chris Rabasco that held down one of the top hitting offenses in the league for a 4-2 win last Thursday night at Hackett Park in Easton.
Senior Chris Rabasco threw half as many innings last Thursday night in the East Penn Conference final as he has all season. But his two innings, including striking out three Stroudsburg batters in the bottom of the seventh inning, and getting out of a bases-loaded jam, clinched a 4-2 league championship for the Trojans.
"This means a lot as a senior," noted Rabasco. "This is the year you want to go out with a bang."
On the year, Rabasco had thrown just 2 and 2/3 innings before that game. He finished with 4 and 2/3, including a save, eight strikeouts and no earned runs.