Favorite athlete: Carson Wentz
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: It was my first varsity playing time ever, I was a freshman and the game was at Plymouth Whitemarsh. The JV game ended while the Varsity game was still going on. Our teamed packed up and walked up to watch the rest of the Varsity game. There were two outs, top of the seventh inning, runner on second and we were tied. A timeout was called and Coach Ludlow looked over to the JV team and says, “Tice, grab your cleats, you’re going in.” So I went in, shaking because I was so nervous. Wound up with two strikes on myself but managed to hit a double to send in the winning run. It was not a walk-off, but we held them in the bottom of the seventh to get the win.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: One time I forgot my softball pants to an early tournament and had to play in a game wearing sweatpants.
Music on mobile device: Mostly every genre but mainly alternative music
Future plans: To attend Moravian College and major in Chemistry while continuing my athletic career playing softball
Words to live by: “You do you”
One goal before turning 30: To snowboard all the Ski Resorts in Vermont
One thing people don’t know about me: I have a secret artistic ability. I enjoy painting and pottery and am surprisingly good at it.
By Craig Ostroff
Chloe Tice has established herself as one of the premiere catchers in the area, but interestingly, the Upper Moreland senior actually began her high school career on the other side of the battery.
Tice likely could have begun her ninth grade season as a varsity catcher. Instead, Golden Bears’ coach Scott Ludlow asked a very large favor from the then-freshman.
“She came into her freshman year as an experienced softball player,” he said. “But I didn’t take her on varsity to start. I said to her, ‘I have no pitchers on JV. Can you pitch on JV to get me through the year?’ She’d thrown in little league, in travel. She said, ‘Absolutely,’ and she pitched half a season on JV until we had an injury and called her up as the varsity starting catcher.
“That’s a great example of the kind of kid that Chloe is. She will do whatever you ask her to do, and she will always do it with a smile on her face.”
That said, standing on the pitcher’s mound wasn’t exactly the first place Tice wanted to be. In all honesty, it was probably the ninth place.
“I had pitched in seventh and eighth grade, but I didn’t want to go into freshman year as a pitcher,” Tice said. “Ludlow said to me, ‘What do you want to play?’ I said, ‘Anything but pitcher.’ But that’s where I ended up.
“I was looking at it as, ‘This is what they need me to get done on JV.’ It’s not about you - this is a team sport. If the coach thinks putting you here or putting you there is better for the team, I’m going to do what’s best for the team.”
If nothing else, Tice took one very valuable lesson from her time as a JV pitcher.
“I learned that pitching is not for me,” she said with a laugh. “I can’t deal with the stress of it. I don’t know how they do it.”
So with her call up to varsity effectively ending her pitching career, Tice returned to where she was more comfortable – behind the plate – and immediately made her presence felt.
“Chloe ended up having a successful freshman season,” Ludlow said. “She controlled the game from behind the plate. We let her figure things out and call a couple games her freshman year, and starting her sophomore year, she’s called every pitch.”
“Calling games my freshman year was definitely intimidating,” Tice said. “I really had no idea who any of the seniors were at that time. So here I am, coming in as a little freshman, a catcher they weren’t used to. And for me, pitches were quicker than what I saw on JV. So it was a little different in that way.
“But it didn’t take that much time. You start to form a bond with your pitcher. On travel, I got to see some quicker pitchers. It was probably harder to adjust mentally, because as a catcher, it’s such a huge role. You can’t be quiet or be intimidated, you have no choice but to be loud and get to know people. It took a couple games, but I saw it as a challenge. I’m up for anything.”
Of course, Tice had had plenty of experience on the softball diamond. She’s played for as long as she can remember, moving her way from T-ball to slow-pitch to fast-pitch, from community leagues to travel and club teams. While she dabbled very briefly in basketball and played field hockey throughout high school, her passion for softball developed early, and when Tice wasn’t practicing or playing the game, she was consuming as much information as she could about the sport and the techniques.
“I would come home and watch YouTube videos or watch college games and see how they’re playing and what pitches to call,” Tice said. “I’d watch to see how the players would swing. If you want to understand, you have to put the time and the work into it. I’m always thinking out there. I’ll make mistakes, of course, everyone does, but softball is a huge thinking game.”
When she’s behind the plate, Tice’s primary goal is to lead her pitcher through the game. That means letting her hurler do her job, while Tice attempts to pick up cues or patterns from opposing batters.
“I focus on my pitcher and what’s working for her that day, because I want the pitcher to focus on throwing strikes,” Tice said. “If she’s got everything working, I can pay more attention to the batter, check out her swing, figure out what would work best. I can usually tell a batter’s patterns after one or two swings.”
Her skill both behind and at the plate have not gone unnoticed. Tice was named Honorable Mention All-League after a sophomore season in which she backstopped the Golden Bears to a 13-5 record and second place in the American Conference. As a junior, she was awarded the team MVP. This year, she’s one of four captains, and her versatility is on full display once again. Having spent much of her career batting third or fourth, Tice was moved to the leadoff spot this season. Instead of driving home runners, she’s now counted on to kick start the inning and get on base, then get herself into scoring position.
“This year, we needed leadoff hitter,” Ludlow said. “I told her I’d like her to step in. She jumped in without batting an eye, and she’s been an outstanding asset as leadoff hitter. Chloe is the kind of kid who will do anything you ask, the best she can, and she works hard not just to get it done, but to excel.”
It’s a challenge she relishes. And the confidence she has in her teammates helps alleviate any additional pressure that the leadoff spot may impress upon her.
“I don’t think I’ve ever batted leadoff before this year, but I really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. At first, I felt a little bit of pressure that I have to get on base. But I know that even if I just make some sort of contact, and get on, I’ve got really good people hitting behind me, I know I can count on them to bring runs in.”
But as valuable as Tice has been on the field for Upper Moreland, she’s been just as critical for her knowledge and leadership on this year’s squad.
“Chloe is one of those kids that comes along once in a long time,” Ludlow said. “I’ve only had a handful of them in my 18 years coaching. She has an incredible softball mind, she knows how the game is played and she knows strategy. And she works so hard. She puts in the time and she gets better. She’s a leader on and off the field for us. She’s always positive, always helping out kids and propping them up.”
And while being a captain does include its share of additional responsibilities, it’s a role that Tice said feels natural to her.
“Where I am right now feels right,” she said. “Over the past four years, I’ve become more confident in myself and as a player overall. As a catcher and you’re calling games, I’m always loud and outgoing on field.
“And as a senior, I feel like I need to be a leader on the team, whether I was a captain or not. But I wouldn’t call it ‘pressure.’ It’s nothing but fun, honestly.”
Just as she’s blazed her own path on the softball field, Tice done the same in the classroom. Following in the steps of her older twin brothers presented yet another challenge for Tice, though it’s one she believes she’s able to overcome.
“Every single teacher I get, ‘Oh, are you related to the Tice boys?’” she said, before adding with a laugh. “I think they were pretty good students … I think I top them.”
In addition to softball, field hockey, and her schoolwork, Tice is a member of Bear Buddies and is one of the leaders of Athletes Helping Athletes, which supports students in Life Skills classes in high schools around the area.
But Tice also knows that all of her commitments and accomplishments – in athletics, academics, extracurriculars – are coming to a close. In the fall, Tice will move on to Moravian College, where she will have a chance to crack the Greyhound lineup as a freshman. She is leaning toward majoring in chemistry with a possible minor in public health with the goal of becoming a food chemist.
With a major that interests her, the ability to continue her softball career, and a location close enough for her parents to see her play often, Moravian proved to be the perfect fit for Tice, who discovered the school through a clinic she wasn’t even supposed to attend.
“My friend’s mom texted my mom asking for me to be a catcher at a clinic at Moravian,” Tice said. “As soon as I stepped on the campus, I fell in love with it. I wasn’t even supposed to go to the camp, but I’m glad I did. I loved the team, loved the coach. It all just felt right.”
According to Ludlow, Moravian is getting a top-notch student and a softball player who will have the ability to provide skill and leadership from the moment she sets foot on the field.
“Moravian is getting a kid who’s going to give 200 percent every inning, every at-bat, every game,” Ludlow said. “For me and our program, we’re going to be looking at having to replace a catcher who caught four years, someone whose leadership on and off the field is going to be a very big loss for us.
“Chloe works so hard, has such a positive attitude, and she gives you everything she’s got. She’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve had in 18 years coaching at Upper Moreland.”
As her time wearing the purple and gold wind down, Tice simply hopes that her final season ends with the Golden Bears putting out their best efforts on the field every game, no matter how far it takes them.
And once she takes off her Upper Moreland jersey for the last time, she hopes to have had a positive effect on those following in her footsteps.
“I’ve always tried to be upbeat and positive,” she said. “Throughout everything, even if I’ve had a bad game or the team has a bad day, I always try to stay positive. And I think that should be everyone’s approach. If you have a bad game, there’s always next game to get back on track. Shake it off and continue to play the game as hard as you can. I hope that rubs off on some of them.”