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Penn College baseball player still in disbelief 


(EDITOR’S NOTE: Shock. Dismay. Anger. Pennsylvania College of Technology spring sports athletes experienced myriad emotions March 12 when it was announced that their seasons had been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is the second in a series on the reactions of student-athletes whose athletic careers or seasons were cut short.) 

While he was a student at Danville High School, Colton Riley played football, baseball and basketball, but when he got to Penn College he focused on his favorite sport – baseball.

Riley said he chose Penn College over others because he was “looking for a hands-on school.” He started majoring in automotive technology before switching to heavy construction equipment technology, which sets him up for a career in two much-needed fields.

And as far as baseball, Riley said he was “excited to be playing at a collegiate (NCAA Division III)  level.

“Every weekend we were going somewhere different, if the game wasn’t home, and that was nice. I wasn’t used to traveling very far for games. … And the bus rides were always fun.”

During his first season in 2018, he started in 26 games, hitting .297 with eight home runs and 27 runs batted in as the Wildcats went 20-15 overall and finished second in the North Eastern Athletic Conference.

A year ago, Riley started in 33 games, hitting .313 with two homers and 21 RBIs as Penn College again reached the conference playoffs, but lost in the first round.

This year, he was hitting .257 before the season ended after 10 games.

“I wanted to help the team any way I could to get us to playoffs,” Riley said of his goal at the start of this season.

“I was really excited on how the team came together even before the season started. Everyone seemed to have the same goal: Get to the playoffs. We bonded really well,” he said.

Hours after the Wildcats had completed their last game during a weeklong spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, players were summoned to coach Chris Howard’s hotel room for the announcement.

“I was in shock. I didn’t think it was real. I thought he (Howard) was joking,” Riley recalled after hearing that the season was over. “To be honest, I didn’t even know what to think. I thought it was just going to blow over, maybe.

“It’s just crazy how one thing can change the outcome of a whole entire season. I’m still in disbelief.”

Reflecting on his time at Penn College, Riley said, “It was a good time. It was a great ride. I enjoyed every minute.

“I was there for something. I was more than just a student at a college. I was an athlete there.”

Riley’s advice to teammates who will return next season is to “stay focused on the goal that they have as a team.”

And his advice to any high school student-athletes who are considering furthering their education, Riley said, “If they are looking for a school that is hands-on, this is a great school to go to. And as far as athletics, all the coaches are great. If you ever need anything, you can always ask one of the coaches because they’re always there to help.”

SCHEDULE/RECORDS/RESULTS
Baseball
Final overall: 5-5
NEAC: 0-0
Remainder of season canceled, coronavirus 

Softball
Final overall: 5-4
NEAC: 0-0
Spring Break Tournament at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Remainder of season canceled, coronavirus 

Archery
Remainder of season canceled, coronavirus 

Women’s Tennis
Final overall: 1-5 (1-4 fall season)
NEAC: 0-0
Remainder of season canceled, coronavirus 

Men’s Tennis
Final overall: 1-5 (1-4 fall season)
NEAC: 0-0
Remainder of season canceled, coronavirus 

Golf
Spring season canceled, coronavirus

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 34

 

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