by Kristen Keller, Felician Sports Information Student Assistant
Some people only dream about playing for their country in the sport that they love. But Felician College graduate Kris Bogach recently did exactly that.
Bogach is a member of the United States Men's Softball National Team, which competed in last month's Pan American Games in Toronto. Softball, however, was not originally his sport of choice. From a young age, Bogach was a very successful baseball player, excelling both in the field and at the plate.
After graduating from Port Jervis (N.Y.) High School in 1997, Bogach's baseball career took him to Sussex County Community College in Newton. He was the starting shortstop for two seasons, and was named first-team all-conference as a sophomore.
From Sussex, he was recruited by Felician coach Ed Ward to play on the inaugural Golden Falcon baseball team in 2000. Bogach was a mainstay on the first two Felician squads, batting leadoff while playing second base and right field and helping the Golden Falcons to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference playoffs in both 2000 and 2001.
Bogach still holds the Felician record for walks in a season (33, 2001), and is the only Golden Falcon to ever record six base hits in a game. He graduated from Felician in 2002 with a BS in mathematics education.
Meanwhile, at the age of 12, he had begun playing softball on recreational teams with his friends. During high school and college, Bogach played less softball so that his techniques would not carry over between sports.
"At the time, softball was just another chance to play something similar to baseball," Bogach said recently via e-mail.
But upon leaving Felician, his focus became solely on softball. The transition was not a difficult one for Bogach to make. Changes in his hitting and fielding style were in order, but the rest was a breeze for him.
Bogach began playing on club softball teams that traveled all over the country. His 2014 squad was the Staten Island Swashbucklers. These tournaments are where the U.S. coaches saw him play, and from which they invited him to play for Team USA at the Pam Am qualifier in Argentina.
This year, Bogach was toiling for the A-1 Bombers, based out of Massachusetts, when he was asked to a Team USA tryout in California. That is where his dreams became a reality
"The day I got the call to be told that I was on the team, I was in amazement," he said. "I thought wow, this is really happening. I just made a team of America's best."
Bogach eventually worked his way into Team USA's starting line-up. He has proven to be versatile, playing second base, shortstop, and left field.
Besides playing, the best feeling Bogach had during the Pan American Games was walking out of the tunnel during the opening ceremony.
"There were 40,000 people cheering for their countries," he said. "My teammates and I got a chance to be part of the ones that walked out right in front. I got goosebumps and my stomach was turning. With my eyes opened wide, I took it all in."
Bogach is one of two Felician graduates who took park in the Pan Am Games. Gisell Peguero '14 was a member of the Dominican Republic's women's basketball squad.
Bogach now resides in Matamoras, Pa., and is engaged to be married to Laurie Weber. With U.S. competition ended for the year, he can still be seen playing club ball for the Bombers, competing against other athletes from all over the world.