If you ask Jerry Ploskon where he intends to work someday, prepare to hear a bunch of initials.
FBI . . . DEA . . . CIA . . .
For now, only one letter is bouncing around in his head and it's the one despised by all athletes - L.
It says here there oughta be a law. Just hours after a wonderful graduation ceremony, a baseball team should not be allowed to suffer a kick-to-the-groin setback. Especially not one that ends the season and the seniors' careers.
"This isn't a good feeling," Ploskon said.
Ploskon, a 5-9, 200-pound senior catcher, spoke yesterday at La Salle University after Kennedy-Kenrick High was humbled by Tulpehocken, 8-1, in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
Even through his shirt and skin, one could see his heavy heart.
Asked what he'll think about many years from now, graduation or the loss, he sighed and said, "It's going to be the loss."
He continued, mentioning how the Wolverines first wanted a Catholic League championship (didn't happen), and then the AA City Title (did happen), and then a state crown.
"This was it. There's nothing after the state tournament. You want to win today and then keep winning," he said. "Of course it didn't happen. Wish it did, though. It would have meant the world to all of us."
At bat, Ploskon went 1-for-2 with a single on a chopper to shortstop. That hit followed Matt Maloney's infield single and gave K-K first and second with nobody out in the fifth. Already trailing by 7-0, the Wolverines finally were showing some life.
So much for that. In quick order, junior righthander Blaise Fernandez induced a foulout, picked Ploskon's courtesy runner off first and used a wicked curve to notch one of his 14 strikeouts.
The Wolverines managed five hits (two by stud third baseman Christian "Ya-Ya" Walker) and only two left the infield. Their seventh-inning run was a cheapie. All six batters in that frame were subs. Evan Basile led off with a single and eventually dashed home on a strikeout/wild- pitch/bad-throw-to-first trifecta.
Graduation began at 10 a.m. at Gwynedd-Mercy College, which Ploskon will attend on an academic scholarship. Gametime was a shade after 4.
"We were sitting there with two mind-sets, graduation and this," he said. "We were so happy to reach our goal. It was a blast. Then it was, 'Now it's time for baseball.' I went home [East Norriton] to get my stuff - my mom prepared a meal; ate it on the way - then went back to catch the team bus.
"All the seniors were pumped. It didn't seem like the underclassmen were."
Ploskon experienced the misfortune of jump-starting a four-run third for Tulpehocken (in Bethel, about 20 miles northwest of Reading), which made the score 5-0. He was called for catcher's interference on the No. 9 hitter.
"I stuck out my glove a little too much and, man, did that guy whack my hand," said Ploskon, displaying a swollen index finger. "It was, 'Ah, crap' . . . We paid the consequences."
Joe Harvey pitched the first five frames for K-K, permitting seven hits and fanning eight. Derek Barnes finished.
Ploskon's major will be criminal justice. He couldn't find the "J" word yesterday. *