The Centennial boys’ baseball team has dominated this year, becoming a force to be reckoned with throughout the county. This success had been crafted over the years, largely in part to the dedicated coaching staff and seniors. It was clear early on in the season that the boys were hungry for success.
Emerging as one of the top seniors, shortstop Chris Betler is a key player to the team. Having spent three years playing baseball on varsity after getting pulled up at the end of his freshman year at Centennial, Betler capitalized on his senior season making it his best. His junior season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ever since starting baseball at a young age, Betler never wanted to stop playing. “I’ve been playing for so long that it is just a part of my life I don’t see giving up soon,” he stated. His passion for the game has pushed him to become the player he is today.
Because of his position at shortstop, he’s always in the action. Recently, he has played center field as well. Despite this, hitting is what he likes the most. Betler has a batting average of .435 for his senior season and has hit 2 homeruns. Throughout his entire varsity career, Betler has had 5 doubles, 24 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases in 24 games.
Baseball is acknowledged as a very challenging mental game. According to many professionals, this sport is 90% mental and 10% physical. It is very easy to get into your own head and make small mistakes. Betler chooses to focus on his own ability and work that he has put in when on the field. “I just have a clear mind and let all my practice reps come to effect,” he stated.
Having made first team all-county his sophomore year, expectations were high leading up to his junior year. However, due to the shutdown of spring sports in March 2020, he never got the chance to top that. “I thought we had a really good team that year that would’ve gone far in the state playoffs so it’s unfortunate the season was canceled,” exclaimed Betler. Instead, he chose to get ready for the next opportunity to play. “I used that time to train and get my body right,” he says, in hopes of coming back better than ever for his senior year.
A major aspect of becoming a well rounded player is consistency. Betler plays on an annual summer team after the high school season ends. “It helps me stay in shape and make connections with players throughout the county,” he says.
This persistence in his sport is something that he is choosing to continue at York College in Pennsylvania, as he will play division lll baseball. Getting to that point was not as easy as most years, due to the impact of COVID. “It definitely made it harder because there were less camps and face to face meetings with coaches,” Betler stated in regards to the pandemic. “I’m just happy I can continue playing baseball throughout college.”
Betler credits a lot of his success to his coaches and teammates. He thanks “all [his] coaches who have helped [him] along the way and [his] parents who pushed [him] to keep getting better.” In regards to the team’s success, Betler mentions, “It also helps when you have a great and fun coach like Ahearn leading you along the way.”
According to Betler, the game wouldn’t be the same without dependable teammates. Having people you can trust on the field is very important to building a strong team. “We are all best friends out there playing baseball together. And the senior class has grown to be brothers throughout the 4 years together.” With Betler leaving at the end of this year, the Centennial boys’ baseball team will have very large shoes to fill. There is no denying the impact Betler has had on the program.
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