By Rich Fisher | Contributing Editor
It’s hard to decide what to like best about Robbie Buecker – his talent in athletics, love of country, polite personality or devotion to faith.
He has attended Catholic school his entire life, going from St. Gregory the Great in Hamilton (also his parish) to his current school, Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville. It is in that environment he has learned the essentials of being a person of character as well as the importance of community.
“A big thing I’ve learned is how being a good person all the time can benefit everybody,” he said. “That’s definitely something I want to take with me going forward.”
His next step forward will be the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York. He narrowed his choices down from the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, Virginia Military Institute and the University of Virginia. As soon as he visited West Point and saw the beautiful surroundings, he decided, “That’s where I wanted to go.”
His decision has as much to do with becoming a military officer as it does with playing baseball. He has attended numerous Army-Navy football games; his uncle, Michael Powers, was an officer in the Marine Corps and a grandfather served in the Navy.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” Buecker said. “My uncle has been a huge inspiration to me. To have an opportunity to go to one of the premiere leadership institutions in the country and have a chance to come out a second lieutenant in the Army after school, it was really a no-brainer.”
After graduation, Buecker will serve a mandatory five years as an officer, then decide if he will become a career man or focus his education and skills in another direction.
“Having the time to serve in the military for those five years will give me a great opportunity to really decide what I want to do,” the Allentown resident said. “I really think it’s great to have those five years to serve in the military to find yourself. You have that chance to lead people.”
Buecker is also glad that over the next four years, baseball will still be part of his life. He credits travel coach Jeff Mazzola and Irish coach Joe Drulis as key figures in making his college decision possible.
Buecker was solid as the Irish starting quarterback in football but thrives in baseball. He is hitting .375 this year for the Irish, who were 11-0 as of April 30. He has a career average of .358 and as a pitcher, is 4-0 this year with a 1.38 ERA and 11-4 with a 2.01 ERA lifetime.
He has adopted a pitching style of delivering the ball as soon as he gets it back from the catcher, which feeds his rhythm and stifles the batter. It is a technique Buecker learned in a travel tournament while batting against a University of Texas pitcher who “carved me up that game, so I took a tool from his tool box and applied it to my own game, and it’s worked out.”
Buecker is unsure where he will play in college but does know one thing – his faith will remain intact.
“It’s a staple for me,” he said. “My morals have been shaped by the teachings of the Church and Christ. Having a set of beliefs I can always go to when things get tough and I’m challenged in some ways is important. The things I’ve learned going to Catholic school my whole life are gonna be with me going forward. It’s not something I plan on leaving behind.”