The senior baseball program of the Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club has experienced yet another memorable summer.
The senior baseball program of the Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club has experienced yet another memorable summer, with the program’s “A” team delivering a 10-week season filled with achievements, character growth, and new heights.
The A team of the baseball program consists of rising high school sophomores and juniors and serves as the summer varsity baseball roster of the region. They represented the community in dominant fashion as they were the first seed in the Bux-Mont Connie Mack ‘A’ league for the first time ever, presenting a 13-2 record in the regular season.
After winning in the Bux-Mont division, Chestnut Hill advanced to the Connie Mack State Tournament and went all the way to the final four game, which was played in the historical Limeport Stadium in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. They fell short in the match to Northern Valley in a 2-1 defeat.
Despite the loss, the commissioner of the Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club baseball program, Brien Tilley, is clear the program was successful in teaching the students the values they emphasize.
“We always tell the kids don’t come ready to play, come ready to compete, and we don’t confuse that with winning and losing,” Tilley said. “We’re not just focused on wins and losses, but also growth, maturity, and where we’re heading. We always say it’s about the process… of learning, dealing with game pressure — these kids embrace that, whether we’re up by five or down by five.”
The team was awarded the coveted and prestigious Sportsmanship Award by the Connie Mack State Board of Directors.
“They don’t talk back to anybody, they do their business, they work hard, they represent themselves, our communities, and our families; they’re gentlemen,” Tilley said. “They compete, they cheer and they move on.”
Chestnut Hill also led the league in numerous statistical categories, including most runs scored, most stolen bases and fewest errors.
“We coach kids from so many schools, including Springfield Township High School, La Salle High School, St. Joe’s Prep, Germantown Academy, Penn Charter, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy,” Tilley said. “It’s probably eight different high schools on our roster of 18 kids. It was a really cool experience to watch these kids grow together throughout the summer.”
Their senior baseball program includes ages 13 to 18 while rising 7th to 9th graders make up the ‘B’ team of the program and can then work their way up each year. Each team plays home games at Carson Valley Field.
This year’s success was also the culmination of an uphill battle for the program since the pandemic hit in 2020. The head coach of the team, Mark McGoldrick, has coached with the team for the past five years and has seen the program build back its "A" team gradually each year.
“My first year we had an A team, it was a really rough year overall; we didn’t make the playoffs," McGoldrick said. “When we came back in 2021 [after playing at the B level in the 2020 COVID season], we didn’t really know what to expect because nobody on our team had experience playing A at that point, so we took our lumps that year for sure.
“I give those guys that finished up last year a lot of credit because that’s really when our culture started to change… the guys that were 16 this year were 15 last year,” McGoldrick added.
Rising junior shortstop Matthew Caruso has been a part of the program for years, seen the ups and downs of the program through its rebuilding stage, and embraced a leadership role this year as the culture shifted.
“This year was a lot of fun, we had a super strong team and made sure we got everybody in the game,” Caruso said. “That was super important because later in the year we were short on a lot of guys in the state playoffs. I learned how to be much more vocal on the field because we had a lot of younger guys that had mostly just played JV ball.”
His father, Art Caruso, noted that when emotions ran high between Chestnut Hill and opposing teams during the playoffs, he was impressed by the team stayed focused.
“The coaches helped the kids lead, and respond with class and integrity,” Art Caruso said. “The adversity really speaks to the program and that they’re teaching these kids the right way to handle a situation. I think that will really carry over into life. They emphasize character.”
McGoldrick also gives a lot of credit to the players’ parents, he said.
“We’re fortunate that we have really good families, so we can see from the interactions we have with the parents why the kids are the way that they are; it makes it a lot easier to coach those kids,” McGoldrick said.
Rising junior pitcher Charlie Morris was another older player who had to step into a leadership role to help the squad find success.
“The coaches always emphasize playing with class, having good sportsmanship, getting to know your teammates early and getting to know them well,” Morris said. “They emphasize playing the game smart and clean — our defense was probably the best in the league, and taking advantage of stolen bases, errors, and playing smart baseball was a huge part of our success.”
Rising sophomore catcher Anderson Kerper, who was voted the Outstanding Defensive Catcher at the state tournament, reflected on their monumental run and what’s to come next year. After playing on the B team since the COVID year, he’s an example of a younger guy who developed within the program to now play a pivotal role on the A team.
“The first couple games there weren't really any close bonds, but later on in the season we started getting more comfortable and came closer together,” Kerper said. “We still have a great group of guys coming back — getting back to where we were this year is what we’re looking to do.”
There will be an open house on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m at the Chestnut Hill Hotel, welcoming ages 13-21 for their senior baseball program that has different levels of play. According to Tilley, information about their local and affordable travel baseball options, culture that prepares one for high school baseball, and sense of sportsmanship that they value as a team, will be discussed at the meeting.