A permanent part of Judge history

"It was a good year. A lot of good things happened … That was spe­cial. That's def­in­itely something I will nev­er for­get." — Cory Kream­er on hit­ting the first home run at Judge's new base­ball field.

Cory Kream­er, a seni­or out­field­er at Fath­er Judge, waits to enter the 27th Car­penter Club Clas­sic dur­ing the first half of Phil­adelphia Cath­ol­ic’s 13-7 loss to Chester County on Sunday, June 10th. (Brad Lar­ris­on)


It’s al­ways nice to be the an­swer to a trivia ques­tion.

Well, maybe not al­ways, but in the case of Cory Kream­er, be­com­ing a part of school his­tory was cer­tainly a pos­it­ive ex­per­i­ence.

As the re­cent gradu­ate of Fath­er Judge High School can at­test, after re­min­is­cing about his schol­ast­ic base­ball ca­reer, “Cory Kream­er” would be the cor­rect re­sponse if someone asked who hit the first-ever home run in the Cru­saders’ brand-new turf field that was in­tro­duced late in the sea­son. The $2.8 mil­lion pro­ject is loc­ated at Ramp Play­ground across the street from the school.

Ad­di­tion­ally, if someone in­quired as to who was the only Fath­er Judge play­er to par­ti­cip­ate in this year’s pres­ti­gi­ous 27th an­nu­al Car­penter Cup Clas­sic, Kream­er’s name would once again fill in the blank.

“It was a good year,” Kream­er said. “A lot of good things happened.”

After bat­ting .451 as Judge’s leadoff hit­ter, center­field­er Kream­er was named a second-team All-Cath­ol­ic League se­lec­tion. That hon­or al­lowed the switch-hit­ter an op­por­tun­ity to try out for the Car­penter Cup, a yearly All-Star tour­na­ment show­cas­ing the best tal­ent from 16 teams from East­ern Pennsylvania, South and Cent­ral New Jer­sey and Delaware. After one prac­tice at Arch­bish­op Wood and two more at Car­din­al O’Hara, the travel-fa­tigued out­field­er made the Cath­ol­ic League squad. (The Phil­adelphia Pub­lic League team played against Delaware County on Tues­day af­ter­noon after the Times went to press.)

Though im­possible to truly gauge the ex­cite­ment level of his team­mates (Arch­bish­op Ry­an’s Bobby Ro­mano and Gage Ga­le­one also made the roster), it is safe to say that Kream­er fully re­cog­nized what a priv­ilege it was to help rep­res­ent his league and his school one last time.

“After play­ing against those guys dur­ing the year, you get a chance to know them as team­mates,” Kream­er said. “They’re good dudes. It was pretty cool.”

Soft spoken and with a shy de­mean­or, Kream­er said he was “anxious” but not nervous when the first-round game began on Sunday af­ter­noon at South Phil­adelphia’s Rich­ie Ash­burn Field in FDR Park; the field is a short jaunt from the Phil­lies’ Cit­izens Bank Park, which will host the Car­penter Cup semi­finals and cham­pi­on­ship game.

Un­ac­cus­tomed to start­ing a game on the bench, Kream­er ul­ti­mately came to bat three times. In between a ground out and a pop out, he faced a key mo­ment in the home sev­enth of a sched­uled nine-in­ning con­test.

Trail­ing 7-5 with a run­ner on second, Kream­er ripped a ground-rule double down the third-base line to cut his team’s de­fi­cit to 7-6. Fol­low­ing a throw­ing er­ror, he scored to tie the game at sev­en.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Cath­ol­ic League, strug­gling to find strong arms on the mound be­cause of vari­ous reas­ons (the league’s top two teams, Neu­mann-Gor­etti and La Salle, are still play­ing in the state play­offs, and some All-Cath­ol­ic se­lect­ees chose not to play), fell apart in the ninth, sur­ren­der­ing six runs in a 13-7 de­feat at the hands of Chester County.

While coaches thanked the play­ers as they re­ceived a com­mem­or­ative shirt, Kream­er emerged dis­ap­poin­ted.

“I thought we would do bet­ter,” he said. “We had a lot of really good play­ers. I figured we would go a lot fur­ther. I was look­ing for­ward to play­ing more games. I’m really bummed out.”

In­stead, Kream­er will con­tin­ue play­ing le­gion ball throughout the sum­mer and in­to the fall. By then, he will be be­gin­ning his col­lege ca­reer as an elec­tric­al en­gin­eer­ing ma­jor at Gloucester County Col­lege (N.J.)… that is, if one of the many col­lege scouts who watched him play on Sunday hasn’t changed Kream­er’s mind about his post-high school des­tin­a­tion.

Either way, Kream­er still hopes to play base­ball for many years to come.

“I love everything about the game,” he said. “I can’t pick just one or name them all. There are way too many to list. It’s such a crazy game in which any­thing can hap­pen.”

Dur­ing a sea­son in which a young, un­der­class­men-heavy Fath­er Judge team made the play­offs after go­ing 4-8 in the Cath­ol­ic League Red Di­vi­sion, Kream­er said he “al­ways en­joyed” help­ing rep­res­ent the Cru­saders in a sport he began play­ing at “about two or three” years of age.

Asked to choose his ca­reer high­light, Kream­er im­me­di­ately cited the afore­men­tioned home run he blas­ted over the Fath­er Judge left field score­board on May 9 against Lans­dale Cath­ol­ic.

“That was spe­cial,” Kream­er said. “That’s def­in­itely something I will nev­er for­get.”

Ditto for the Car­penter Cup.

“Def­in­itely,” he said. “I’m really glad I went out and made the team. I as­sumed every­one who could play would try out, but maybe they didn’t. It’s a shame. They would have ex­per­i­enced something they would al­ways re­mem­ber.” ••


You can reach at jknebels@gmail.com.

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