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Penn College Baseball Coach Looks Ahead

Less than 24 hours after his team’s season ended May 13, Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball coach Chris Howard was washing uniforms, reflecting on this year and planning for next.

Seeded second in the conference tournament, the Wildcats went 2-2, and for the second year in a row finished second to Penn State Berks in the North Eastern Athletic Conference, completing a 20-15 overall season, 11-5 in conference games.

“It was a learning experience for a lot of the guys. We were a young team this year. We had a good mix of upperclassmen, but for the most part we were a young team,” Howard said. “We competed hard every game, we went out there and played, so I was really happy with the effort that we had all year. 

“Our pitching staff was everything that I thought they were going to be. We were really good in the starting pitching. We had some really good relief outings as well. We just kind of ran out of steam at the end of the year in the tournament. It’s so hard to come through the losers bracket.

“We were where we wanted to be. When we set out at the beginning of the year, our goal was to play for a NEAC championship and win the thing and get to regionals. We fell a little short, but like I told the guys, they gave me everything they had all year.”

Counting regular season and playoff games this season against Berks, the Wildcats were 0-4, all over the final nine-day span.

“They (Berks) have been a good program for a lot of years. The last time we beat them was in the 2015 championship. It’s just something where a lot of that is mental. I think the teams are pretty well evenly matched. … It’s always a good game and it’s turned into a good rivalry … But we have to find a way (to beat Berks), we’ve got to figure it out. To be best you’ve got to beat the best, and right now that’s where Penn State Berks is,” Howard said.

“Recruiting is an all-year thing, but in the summertime we ramp it up. … We’ve got some good kids coming in. We’re really close, really close to turning this thing around and getting to that place where Berks is right now,” the coach continued.

“I’m confident. We’ve got a lot of young kids from this year who have that year of experience under their belt and they’re going to come back next year a little bit hungrier than they were this year, I can promise you that,” Howard said. “I’m looking forward to next year already. It doesn’t take long.”

Four Penn College players were named All-NEAC: Sophomore catcher Brittan Kittle, of Millville, was named to the First Team,  while senior pitcher Max Bair, of Centre Hall; sophomore third baseman Ben Flicker, of Topton; and sophomore designated hitter Cody Cline, of Waynesboro, were named to the Second Team.

“I was really happy for them. … They were all very well deserving and I was very happy for them. And I would have like to have seen at least one more guy get in there: Colton Riley, of Danville, had a really breakout year with eight home runs. They all did a really nice job,” Howard said.

In 12 seasons, Howard’s teams have gone 270-166, which surpasses the Penn College win mark of former coach Mike Stanzione, whose teams in 13 seasons ending in 2004 went 261-167.

Youth Summer Hoops Camp Set
Women’s basketball coach Lauren Healy will hold a summer hoops camp for girls and boys in grades 3-8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Aug. 6-9 in the college Field House. The $135 cost includes daily lunch. For more information, email Healy or follow the registration link.

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

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