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Baseball Team Ready for Opener; Seven Wrestlers Headed to Nationals

Baseball season is set to open, seven wrestlers are headed for the small-college nationals and four basketball players earned national postseason honors. It was a good week for Pennsylvania College of Technology athletics.

“The guys have worked hard, even in the fall. We’re anxious to get out there and see where we stand,” coach Chris Howard said as his team prepares for its opener, a Saturday doubleheader at Southern Virginia University.

“These guys are committed. It’s been three years since we won a conference title and these guys want to get back up on top again and make another trip to the nationals,” Howard continued. “I’m excited, probably as much as I’ve ever been just because of how well these guys work and how hard they work. I’m anxious to see these guys out on the field playing.”

“If I’m not mistaken, these guys (Southern Virginia) have played eight to 10 games already. They’re already pretty deep into their season and we’re going to find out right away where we are and all the things we need to work on. It’s going to be a big test for us to start out the season,” said the coach.

After Saturday’s games, Penn College continues its early-season road trip with six games in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Wildcats’ scheduled home opener will be March 23. hosting Luzerne County Community College at Logue Field in the city’s west end.

Key returning players for the Wildcats, who were 23-14 overall last season and placed among the top 10 in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and were 14-6 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference where they finished among the top four, are brothers Cody and Zachary Buterbaugh, of Conestoga; Travis Hendershot, of Muncy; Josh Longsderff, of Columbia; Brian Santangelo, of Middletown, Conn.; Craig Watson, of McEwensville; Zach Weil, of Kutztown; and Zach Yetter, of Thompsontown.

Longsderff, Santangelo and Yetter, the latter a lefty, will be keys on the mound for Penn College, and, when he’s not pitching, Longsderff will see action at third base, where Howard says he is outstanding. Cody Buterbaugh will anchor second base with Hendershot at first base, Weil starting behind the plate, and Zach Butterbaugh and Watson, the team’s co-captains, in the outfield.

“Our outfield is so fast. It’s going to be tough to get any balls in the gaps on us,” Howard said.

Among the newcomers the coach expects to give the squad a boost are James Simasek, of Landenberg, at shortstop; Luke Zamiskie, of Latrobe; Kyle Eck, of South Williamsport; and a pair of transfer students who played high school baseball at Williamsport Area in Rantz Mahaffey (coming in from Slippery Rock University) and Jeremy Rall (from Lock Haven University).

“Offensively, it’s going to be a little different for us this year … We don’t have the type of pop we had in the past, but we have guys who can handle the bat very well, guys who can run very well. I really see us doing a lot more things. Some call it ‘small ball,’ I just call it being a bit more aggressive as opposed to sitting back and waiting for somebody to hit a three-run home run. It’s going to be exciting to watch us,” Howard said.

“This is my seventh year (as coach) and defensively I believe we’re the strongest we’ve ever been,” he added.

On Saturday, Penn College’s Ryan Hart, of Wyalusing, won a championship and six other Wildcats earned berths in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships March 15-17 in Allen, Texas.

During the NCWA Mid-East Conference Championships hosted by Penn College, Hart captured the 133-pound title, and Logan Gresock, of Wadsworth, Ohio, was second at 174. The Wildcats finished third in the 15-team tournament, behind only the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Penn State DuBois.

Also headed to nationals for Penn College are Tyler Myers, of Centre Hall, who finished third at 157; Paul Crutchlow, of Morris Plains, N.J., at 184; Austin Clark, of Elysburg, who was fourth at 165; Daniel Frankenfield, of Dushore, who was fifth at 174; and Alex Muller, of Sparta, N.J., who was sixth at 184.

“Overall, the guys are peaking at the right time. Now, they’re really coming into their own. I’m proud of the whole crew,” coach Schuyler Frey said.

“Ryan is really turning it on as a freshman. He’s really focused and knows what he wants and he’s not giving up until he gets it. I’m really expecting some big things from him when we get down to nationals. Logan wrestled some of the best matches he’s wrestled. He’s been in and out with injuries, but he’s starting to pull things together,” Frey continued.

“We lost a couple of matches that could have gone either way, but the guys are wrestling super hard and have got their focus on. I’m anxious to see what they’re able to do when we get down to Texas,” the coach said.

USCAA Postseason Awards
Four Penn College student-athletes were honored when the United States Collegiate Athletic Association announced its 2012-13 Winter Sports All-Americans and All-Academic Team winners during the national basketball championship banquet Tuesday night. In Division II, freshman Jamie Steer, of South Williamsport, was named a Second Team All-American while her senior sister, Kierstin, was an honorable mention. In addition, Kierstin Steer and senior Adam Smith, of Duncannon, and sophomore Patrick Irick, of Schwenksville, were named to the All-Academic Team. All-Americans are based on performance throughout the season and the All-Academic Team is comprised of sophomore, junior or seniors with a 3.5 cumulative GPA. This is Smith and Kierstin Steer’s second time on the list while Irick earns the honor for the first time.

Overall record: 13-8
PSUAC record: 5-1
Saturday, March 2 – host NCWA Mid-East Conference Championships at Bardo Gym, team finished third behind University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Penn State DuBois
Thursday-Sunday, March 14-17 – NCWA Championships at Allen, Texas, to be announced

Saturday, March 9 – at Southern Virginia University, 1 p.m.
Monday, March 11 – vs. County College of Morris at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 1 p.m.
Monday, March 11 – vs. Salem University at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 4 p.m.

Monday, March 11 – vs. Gordon College at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 9 a.m.
Monday, March 11 – vs. Norwich University at Myrtle Beach, S.C., 1 p.m.

No. 29

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