Most teens cant wait to get out of high school. You can nearly see the vapor trail coming off of them as they grab their diplomas and run.
Bellefonte High School softball standout Chrissy Tressler says graduation has been bittersweet. She has her sights set on the future, but finds difficult to sever the ties with the past.
Its hard to believe that Im leaving my other family behind, said Tressler, of her teammates and coaches. I dont really like it. I wish I was still playing. I wish I had another season left.
Shell have to settle for one more unofficial game as a Bellefonte player. She and teammates Hannah Cooper, Jess Gmerek and Jillian Musser play for District 6 in the annual Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association All-Star Game at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Lock Haven University.
They are my best friends. Theyre my family. Theyre my sisters, Tressler said, Its great to get one more time on the field with them.
Tressler was a two-year starter at third base for the Lady Red Raiders, who won the District 6 title and advanced to the PIAA Tournament in both those seasons.
Shes a kid that kind of grew up around Bellefonte softball, Bellefonte coach Gregg Kohlhepp said. Shes an athletic kid and a kid thats learned to work hard to achieve some amazing things for us. We always thought she had the drive and the talent to do it and she was able to put that together the last several years and help us out at some different levels an certainly the last couple of years being a big piece of the varsity team.
Kohlhepp said Tressler played an underappreciated role as the teams bullpen catcher during the run to the 2010 PIAA title. Tressler was always busy as Kohlhepp often used three pitchers in most games.
But, Kohlhepp needed Tressler on the field in the next season, taking over a key position. After standout Christina Stathes graduated, he needed someone to fill a big hole at third base.
I had to learn everything from the start, said Tressler, who said Stathes helped her make the transition.
They had to teach me so much. It was a lot of learning those years.
She put so much work into it, Kohlhepp said. To step in and not miss a beat in that season is amazing.
The Lady Raiders advanced to the PIAA semifinals that season, falling 1-0 to eventual PIAA champ Valley.
Tressler was back at third this season and even spent a little time in the circle. She was 3-0 as she eased the strain on ace Hannah Coopers arm.
Tressler also wielded a big bat. Hitting primarily in the No. 6 spot, she batted .368 with two home runs. Even though cleanup hitter Vanessa Cooper led the county in RBIs, Tressler still picked up her share by plating 25 runs.
The RBI total doesnt tell the whole story with Tressler, who drove in many of her teammates in key situations.
Shes had a lot of clutch hits, Kohlhepp said. Shes probably the one kid with two outs and runners on base who has come through more than anyone else. She just has a really nice steady plan and approach to the game. I think she has a great plan when she steps in to bat. I dont think she lets the situation get to her.
The Lady Raiders fell 1-0 in the PIAA opening round against Big Spring, which eventually went on to win the state title.
It kind of makes it easier because they were a great team, Tressler said of the loss to Big Spring. Its easier that they won. Im proud they won. Its better to say that we lost to the winners.
But, losing capped a career that Tressler will miss sorely. Tressler, who also swam at Bellefonte, said she enjoyed the nearly year-round aspect of softball with her teammates.
The whole family aspect of our team, Im going to miss it a lot, she said. We were so close. It will never be the same. ... We knew each others strength and weaknesses. We worked to that and it could be a deciding factor in a lot of games.
This senior class, and certainly Chrissy included, has been about that idea its really a team focus, Kohlhepp said. The hardest part of losing to Big Spring is not that we didnt get to win a state championship, but the fact that we had to stop practicing and playing games together.
Tressler hopes to carry on her career. Shell attempt to walk on at Clarion University.
Shes currently undecided on a major, but has an interest in medical imaging. I like X-rays and looking at bones, she said.
She hopes to become one of the many Centre County players who go on to college playing success.
We have great talent around here, Tressler said. Im surprised so many people have went to college and played ball. Thats just more of a push to become of those people that you hear about. I want to be one of those people.
Walt Moody can be reached at 231-4630. Follow him on Twitter @wmoodycdt