Chase Nowak

Last updated: April 08. 2014 12:12AM - 3088 Views
By - psokoloski@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6392

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School: Coughlin

Grade: Freshman

Sport: Baseball

Positions: Third base, pitcher

All in the Family: Chase is the son of Tony and Gaye Nowak of Wilkes-Barre. He has two brothers named Derek and Dylan who, like Chase, are very musically-inclined.

Statistically Speaking: What a way to start a high school career! While breaking into Coughlin’s starting lineup as a freshman, Nowak hit .667 over Coughlin’s first two games, going 2-for-3 at the plate in both a season-opening loss to Berwick and in a victory over Pittston Area. Nowak finished his first week on the high school scene with four hits, three RBI, a triple and a run scored. Oh, and he also added a save and a strikeout on the mound.

Mr. Clutch: Leading by a run with the game on the line, Nowak wasn’t about to let victory slip away from Coughlin. He entered the game with the potential tying run at second base and two outs in the seventh inning, and proceeded to record a game-ending strikeout in his high school pitching debut. “He said to me, ‘I’ll get him, coach,’ ” Coughlin coach Moe Rodzinak said. That confidence was branded through Nowak’s past, where he starred in plenty of big state playoff moments for the Plains Junior Legion team. It also helped him deliver a two-run triple and run-scoring single earlier in that 8-7 victory over Pittston Area.

Coach’s Corner: “I took a lot of flak when I brought him up, but I’ve been watching the kid play for a few years,” Coughlin coach Moe Rodzinak said. “He’s been progressing much faster than I expected. I thought he’d be where he’s at now a year from now. Because of an injury or two, and because he was playing so good, our first game he was in the lineup. Right now, he’s our starting third baseman, and he’ll pitch, too. For a freshman, he’s so poised. You’d think he was a senior. He had good mechanics when he came up. He grew up on the baseball field.”

Did you know? Nowak is proficient at playing guitar, drums and the piano and is actually a part of a five-member side band. His brothers are a part of the group that plays hybrid sessions and has recorded alternative rock songs in New York and in Exeter. “We play shows throughout Pennsylvania,” Nowak said. “Music’s probably my second-biggest thing.” They don’t have a recording contract, but Nowak said the group is in the process of putting together a CD. Fittingly, it’ll be titled ‘Moment of Crisis.’

From his angle: “It’s such a pleasure to come up as a freshman. It was very unexpected,” Nowak said. “I figured I’d move up, maybe get a game here or there and play on the JV. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d move up to the varsity and be starting. I kind of feel bad, because I’m coming in as a freshman and taking someone’s spot, and they (his older teammates) have been with the program for two or three years. It’s definitely a little tough with that whole aspect. I feel like I have a big responsibility. I don’t want to seem like I’m coming up inexperienced. The triple, out of all my years playing baseball, that was probably one of my best hits. It seemed like everyone felt, ‘He’s a freshman, maybe he’ll get a little dink hit in the infield.’ It was a high pitch, I hit it in the gap, over the outfielder’s head, it came close to the fence. It felt so good. Bottom of the seventh inning, up by a run, I came in and struck the guy out. I think I was kind of ready for it. I actually like coming into those situations. I like the pressure.”

Week in Review: With 18 kills in a match last week, Adam Billings had his Tunkhannock boys volleyball team feeling as if it reached the top of the world. Because his effort sparked the Tigers to a victory over Delaware Valley - which was Tunkhannock’s first win since the 2012 season. Ed Lukowski made sure the Nanticoke Area Trojans kept coming up winners, registering 21 assists in a victory over Berwick and 27 assists in a win over Dallas. Sal Purpura had 31 assists in a victory over Dallas while Holy Redeemer’s Mike Conlon registered 33 assists against Wyoming Valley West and Hazleton Area’s Brett Barron dished out 34 assists against Delaware Valley. Wyoming Valley West’s Mark Burridge continued his early-season tear at the net with 22 kills, 10 digs and three blocks in a win over Hanover Area while his teammate Nick Klimchok pulled off 29 digs in that match. Now for the big bangers. Alex Gregoire pounded home 20 kills against Delaware Valley. Tunkhannock’s Luke Carver had 18 kills and 10 blocks in a victory over Berwick. Bryce Mattson of Dallas also made 18 kills against Nanticoke Area. Holy Redeemer’s Mike Gatusky drilled 16 kills in a victory over Valley West and Danny Sales of Coughlin killed 15 points against Lake-Lehman. …

Wyoming Valley West’s Pat Antall put up a perfect week in boys tennis, winning all three of his matches at the top singles spot. He posted 6-1, 6-1 victories against Coughlin and Tunkhannock and went to three sets before pulling out a victory against MMI Prep. Wyoming Seminary’s Chris Kim remained unbeaten in the early going with two match victories, but needed a three-setter to pull out a win against Pittston Area and help the Blue Knights edge their way to a 3-2 team win. Hazleton Area’s Wister Yuhas cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Crestwood but survived a three-set challenge to win against MMI Prep. And Holy Redeemer’s Josh Wyhock also won in straight sets in the top singles match against Coughlin. …

Daniella Callaghan got Crestwood’s girls lacrosse team going, scoring seven goals - exactly half of the team’s total - in a victory over Tunkhannock. Crestwood keeper Savannah Gleason made 15 saves in that game. And Lake-Lehman’s Alyssa Adams put up four goals and two assists against Coughlin, then followed that with three goals against Danville. …

Meyers star Tyriek Steward took one more shot at pleasing area fans on the boys basketball court, scoring 23 points to earn the West team’s MVP in a victory over the East in the Wyoming Valley Conference Senior All-Star Classic. Hazleton Area’s Brett Barron finished with 19 points for the West, while MMI Prep’s R.J. Kupsho scored 13 and Crestwood’s Chris Fazzini finished with 11 in the West win. GAR’s Isaiah Francis worked his magic one last time while winning the MVP honors for the East, scoring 12 points and adding an array of eye-catching assists. Lake-Lehman teammates Adam Dizbon had 13 points and Pete Borum scored 10 for the East. …

Before she heads off to King’s College, Dallas stalwart Maggie Michael made one final high school memory in the WVC girls basketball senior all-star classic. She tossed in 12 points to win MVP honors for the East, which received an 11-point performance from Crestwood’s East Stroudsburg-bound Rebecca Rutkowski and 10 from Pittston Area’s Eastin Ashby. Meyers senior Quinnea Gross was the West MVP after her dazzling 18-point performance. …

Wyoming Valley West’s Jermichael Bunch got off to a fast start in boys track and field. He was a four-time winner in a meet against Berwick, winning the 110 hurdles, the 100 dash, long jump and triple jump. Northwest’s Tyler Burger also won four times in a victory over Wyoming Area, capturing the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, high jump and long jump. Wyoming Area’s Ryan Murray paced the Warriors to victory over GAR, taking first-place finishes in the 400 dash, high jump and triple jump. Meanwhile, Pittston Area’s Mike Harth sprinted to victory in the 100, 200 and 400 dashes against Coughlin. …

On the girls track and field side, Berwick’s Olivia Seely continues to dominate the field events. She finished first in the shot put, discus and javelin throws in a victory over Wyoming Valley West. Holy Redeemer’s Kusakavitch sisters, Melanie and Mallory, dominated everywhere else. They combined for seven first-place finishes in a victory over Hanover Area. …

Audi Welles drove home Melinda Holena with an extra-inning double that lifted Wyoming Valley West to a 1-0 victory in eight innings over Crestwood as the girls softball season began with a barn-burner. Spartans pitcher Chloe Ruckle picked up that hard-earned victory by pitching eight innings of five-hit, shutout ball. Hanover Area’s Haylee Bobos blasted a grand slam and her Hawkeyes teammate Michelle McNair ripped a double and a triple during a victory over GAR. Hanover Area pitcher Mary Kate Penczkewski racked up 10 strikeouts in that game. Holy Redeemer’s Chelsea Skrepenak had a home run among her five hits during a victory over GAR, while Coughlin’s Marissa Ross unloaded a three-run homer against Pittston Area. Wyoming Area’s Nicole Turner had a triple and three RBI to spark a victory over Tunkhannock. …

Pittston Area’s Joe Champi ripped a double, a homer, drove home four runs and scored two others on the baseball field - accounting for six of the Patriots’ seven runs against Coughlin. Hazleton Area’s Robbie John was almost as busy during a victory over Wyoming Valley West, where he finished with three RBI and two runs scored. His Cougars teammate Tony Hernandez was magical on the mound, working a one-hitter with allowing just one earned run. Tunkhannock’s Ryan Weiss twirled a three-hit shutout while his Tigers teammate Sean Soltysiak had three hits and three RBI in a victory over Lake-Lehman. Wyoming Area’s Tyler Mitchell blasted a three-run homer and Fred Cefalo added two doubles in a victory over Dunmore during the Coaches vs. Cancer game at PNC Field. Nanticoke Area’s Joe Olszyk struck out seven batters while pitching six innings of one-hit ball in a victory over GAR. That hit he allowed was a homer by GAR’s Zac Faust. Berwick’s Jordan Stout went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and drove home three runs in an opening-day victory over Coughlin. Anthony Caladie had two hits and three RBI against Valley West and Lake-Lehman’s Zach Brucher had three hits and two RBI against Wyoming Area. Meanwhile, MMI pitcher Cory Rogers shut down Meyers on one hit over 5 2/3 innings and fished with six strikeouts during his first win of the season.

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