By John Knebels
La Salle College High School’s golf team and the Philadelphia Phillies may end up having something in common.While the Phillies have been winning games thanks to contributions from some lesser-known players, the Explorers were faring well similarly in the Catholic League championship at Blue Bell Country Club.
The Explorers did their part by winning the Catholic League golf title on Sept. 30. The Phils? They still have some work to do if they are to capture a World Series.
“This was a special win,” said Marty Jackson, La Salle’s coach for the past 18 years. “They’re all nice in their own way, but the way everyone contributed was fun.”
Jackson has many “special wins” from which to choose. The Explorers have now captured 12 of the past 14 league titles and seem destined to continue their rampage in the future.
Although Father Judge, coached by former legendary football coach Whitey Sullivan, provided the Explorers with significant angst, La Salle was able to win the league title by 17 strokes. After Judge came third-place Kennedy-Kenrick.
Playing on a course that was extremely wet from an earlier rain and played havoc with several tee shots, the K-K squad was led by teammates Jim Atkins and Kevin Shemar. The pair joined Archbishop Ryan junior Vince Boyle atop the inspanidual finishers with a 6-over-par 77. In a playoff round, Boyle emerged victorious.
Meanwhile, La Salle was more consistent than anything else. Senior Kevin Genuardi and senior Kevin Seybert shot an 80 while juniors Tucker Durkin and Mark Schnupp both scored an 81.
Junior Jack Ulan’s 84 helped, but since the top six scores from each team are registered as its final total, arguably the most important contribution was junior Andrew Staudt’s 87.
“It’s one of those things where he recognized the situation and did an outstanding job knowing what he had to do and then going out and doing it,” said Jackson. “It’s the little things like that that ultimately make the difference.”
The Catholic League title allowed La Salle to qualify for the PIAA District 12 tournament on Oct. 8 at Island Green Golf Club. There, competing against Father Judge, Monsignor Bonner and Kennedy-Kenrick of the Catholic League and Central High of the Public League, the Explorers seized the first-ever district competition and advanced to regional play in the state tournament.
“Winning the Catholic League is always the number-one incentive,” said Jackson, formerly a long-time basketball coach at La Salle. “But it was actually pretty nice to have something else to look forward to. It re-focuses you. Now that we keep going, we have a week to re-charge our batteries.”
As for his part in the latest installment of La Salle’s golf dominance, Jackson, as he always does, moved aside.
“I just make sure I don’t get in their way,” he said. “They know what they’re doing.”
But there is a lot more than just game-day performances in inspanidual-based sports such as golf, tennis, track and cross-country.
“We try and focus on the team approach more than anything else,” said Jackson. “If you go off and think about yourself inspanidually too much, it could hurt you. If you’re not having a great day, you have to remember to stay focused because you are playing for a team.”
Good, sound advice.
Much more than just staying out of the way.
John Knebels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.