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Penn College Baseball Team Ready to Go


With most of his players returning from a 16-7 fall season, Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball coach Chris Howard is optimistic. What concerns him is something he can’t control the weather.

“All I’m hoping is that the weather holds out for us. Last year, we lost eight to 10 games because of weather and couldn’t reschedule any of them. That’s my ultimate concern right now, just getting out on the field. It would be a shame to waste those eight days in Florida (a week ago) and having to sit around waiting for good weather,” Howard said. The Wildcats are scheduled to open their season at 1 p.m. Saturday hosting Penn State Greater Allegheny in a doubleheader at Bowman Field.

Weather aside, the second-year coach is upbeat about his expectations.

“We had eight days in Cocoa Beach . It was good to get down there and in some hot weather and let these guys do something other than hitting batting practice indoors. Everybody got some good playing time in, got a lot of at-bats and a lot of pitching. Just to get outside was the best thing,” Howard said. “It was a good trip. We got a lot accomplished.”

“The guys are really focused,” the coach continued. “I think last year’s whole championship series, that whole tournament left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth ( Penn College finished fourth). They are focused on what we need to do and are looking forward to getting this half of the season started and get back and win a championship.

“(Penn State) Beaver is a good team, they always play us tough (the Wildcats and PS Beaver tied for first during the fall with 7-3 records in the Penn State University Athletic Conference), but there are a lot of teams that are getting better every year, so we’ve got to stay on top of our game and focused the whole time.”

Probable starters in the opener will be returnees Cody Lytle (junior/Watsontown) at third base, twin brothers Phil Woodring (junior/Waynesboro) at shortstop and James Woodring (senior/Waynesboro) at second base. Brian Johnson (sophomore/Montoursville) will split time at first base with Mark Shaffer (sophomore/Hanover). James Craft (junior/York) will open behind the plate. In the outfield will be Dan Glick (freshman/Belleville) in center, Matt Mientus (freshman/Macungie) in left and Joe Vassallo (junior/Windsor, Conn. ) in right. Devon Liquori (junior/Hawley) will be the team’s designated hitter.

On the mound, Shaffer is expected to go the first game and either Mike McCloskey (freshman/Springfield) or John Vitovsky (junior/Waymart) starting the second. Dan Preston (sophomore/Little Meadows) rounds out the rotation.

“I’m excited about our pitching staff. We’ve got three new pitchers Vitovsky, Tony Harman (freshman/Montgomery) and Jeff Lucas (freshman/Bellefonte) who really help the staff. We have a lot more to choose from, especially when you play two doubleheaders in a four-day span,” Howard said. “You need to have arms.

“I’m never worried about our offense; I know we’re going to score runs. And our pitching staff, we can stop people. Defense, it’s funny, sometimes I find myself taking it for granted because we make so many good plays, but that is one area that I have never been worried about in the two years that I’ve been here.

“It’s going to be a tough fight and it’s something that you can’t take for granted. We know we’re a good team, but you can’t just throw your gloves out on the field and expect to win. You have to be prepared to bring it every single day. They know that, and they’re ready,” Howard added.

Rounding out the team are infielder-outfielder John Burns (freshman/Lansdale), outfielder Justin Crowther (sophomore/Bear, Del. ), third baseman Dan Glezen (freshman/Hallstead), catcher Courtney Shreiner (senior/St. Thomas), pitcher-third baseman Doug Sponseller (junior/Hanover), pitcher Justin Trefsger (sophomore/Ashland), outfielder Kevin Wolfe (sophomore/Nazareth) and pitcher Christian Worth (junior/Williamsport).

Note: All regular-season game dates are doubleheaders. All home games are played at Bowman Field.

(Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college’s Athletics Web site).

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