After two years as a catcher at Old Forge, Chelsea Cadwalder looked forward to her junior season in 2012.
But last year did not pan out the way Cadwalder and her teammates had planned, and during her junior season, she was asked to make a position change.
Although the position switch did not pay off immediate dividends, the long-term effects were positive as Old Forge captured the District 2 Class A championship and spot in the state playoffs this year.
“The transition went well. I felt we had some players out of position,” Old Forge head softball coach Pat Revello said. “We wanted to see where to put people and start clicking.”
Cadwalder left her beloved role as catcher and moved to first base as part of the lineup changes. She understood what her coach was doing.
“The coach wanted to shake up the team,” Cadwalder said. “After a couple of practices, I was ready. It was an easy transition.
“I knew with low throws how to block them, jump for high balls. Up and down, I knew the movements.”
But still, it was hard for her to leave a position she had put in so much time and so much sweat in mastering.
“I started in third grade,” Cadwalder said. “It’s an awesome position. There is excitement on every play; something different all the time.”
That exhilaration, that feeling of being in on every pitch, was hard to tone down when she moved to first base. At first, being not so busy, allowed her mind to wander.
“At first base, you wait for the ball to come to you,” Cadwalder said. “At first, at first base, I was bored.”
But Revello never doubted that Cadwalder would be nothing but a success at her new position.
“She’s the type of kid who can fill in the holes anywhere on the field,” Revello said.
Her impact on the team has been noticed by Revello, who has appreciated what she has done over the years for the program.
“She had a great year; she’s been doing that since she was a freshman,” Revello said. “She’s been consistent for four years; never had her sit out any game for me.”
With that high praise in mind when the position change was made, Revello knew that Cadwalder was going to be a big part in any success the Lady Devils would have in the future. With a district title in hand this year, Cadwalder justified Revello’s confidence.
“We weren’t playing as well as we could have been,” Cadwalder said. “We were rebuilding, and I wanted to go in with a positive attitude, and have an impact on the girls.”
That district title and state playoff berth are just parts of the legacy Cadwalder leaves Old Forge.
“I’m going to miss my teammates; we’re a close-knit family,” said Cadwalder, who intends to go to Johnson College to be a veterinarian technician. “I will miss the little things, like the smell of the field, and the dirt that sticks to your spikes.”
And Revello and Old Forge will miss the unselfish senior who helped guide a program back to the state playoffs.