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Penn College baseball team seeks rebound


As the regular seasons wind down for two Pennsylvania College of Technology teams – basketball on Saturday and wrestling on Sunday — the college’s baseball players are preparing for what may be their earliest start ever – weather permitting.

Baseball
In all likelihood, coach Chris Howard will win his 300th game this year as he enters his 14th season with a 284-188 career record, averaging nearly 22 wins per season.

But that is the last thing on his mind as his team prepares for its opener Saturday at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey.

A year ago, the Wildcats reached the postseason for the 12th time during Howard’s tenure, finishing 14-22 overall and 11-7 in all North Eastern Athletic Conference games, but didn’t get past the first round in the playoffs after consecutive seasons when they ended second. And that didn’t sit well with either his players or himself.

“We have to improve defensively from last year. It’s really about getting back to the basics – throw the ball, catch the ball. Do the simple better! Bottom line is, we have to be a solid defensive team to be successful,” the coach said.

The core of this year’s squad includes four players who earned all-conference honors a year ago. They are senior catcher Brittan Kittle, of Millville, and junior right-handed pitcher Nathan Holt, of Shippensburg, who were on the first team, along with sophomores Jacob Carles, of Bernville, an outfielder, and Alex Flicker, of Topton, a designated hitter/catcher, who were on the second team.

Two other key returnees Howard is counting on are junior designated hitter/first baseman Colton Riley, of Danville, and sophomore outfielder Sam Zeigler, of Palmyra.

“This will be the youngest team that I have had in many years, especially in the pitching staff,” Howard said. “Having said that, this is the most talented pitching staff I have had in my 14 years – a lot of very talented arms who we will get a lot of on-the-job training.

“The young staff has two veteran pitchers in Holt and junior Max Conrad, of Hagerstown, Maryland, who they can look to and look up to for guidance. Nathan and Max are both extremely hard workers and are great role models for the pitching staff and the whole team in general.

“Our pitching staff will be the strength of the team. Led by Holt, we have a lot of young arms but quality arms that will get better as the season goes and they learn how to pitch at this level of ball.”

Howard and his staff hope that a couple of returning players and some newcomers will help solve the defensive woes experienced last year.

“Our outfield will be very solid this year with guys who can go get the ball. Carles will be the anchor of the outfield with Zeigler and freshman Jake Wagner, of Palmyra, who really turned some heads this fall, also patrolling the outfield. Junior Joe Gaumer, of Quakertown, who has vastly improved from his freshman year, will be another key component in the outfield as well as a key player off the bench. Freshman Kolt Smith, of Millville, who has a solid glove and speed to cover the big outfield of Bowman Field, will be a big part of our success this year,” Howard said.

“The infield,” Howard said, “will be a mix of veterans, freshmen and players coming off injury. Freshmen Tyler Rudolph, of Hemlock, New York; Cameron Dick, of Dillsburg; Keegan Nytz, of Allentown; and Shane Price, of Kersey, are the newcomers to the program and are all very talented.

“(Sophomore) Brayden Lippert, of Carlisle, will be playing his first season with his arm at 100% while junior Ethan Ketterman, of Biglerville, and sophomore Connor Burke, of St. Clair, provide some veteran leadership. Riley is back at full speed after being sidelined for most of last season with injuries.

“Catching, we have four-year starter Kittle, with Flicker seeing time behind the plate with newcomer Mason Blethen, of Colora, Maryland, as well.”

After their game in New Jersey, the Wildcats will head to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for six games over five days starting March 8, then they have three road games later in the month before their home opener at Bowman Field on March 30. Conference play gets underway in early April.

“The conference this year, particularly the South Division, is very strong with the addition of Penn State Harrisburg to go along with Berks, Abington and Lancaster Bible,” Howard said. “We will have to play great baseball to be in the top three of the division to qualify for playoffs.”

Men’s basketball
Hosting Lancaster Bible College on Wednesday in NEAC play, Penn College lost, 71-52. The visitors opened a 13-point halftime lead and held on for the win. Ben Sosa, of Loyalsock Township, led the Wildcats with 15 points and Carson Garvis, of Taneytown, Maryland, chipped in with 12 points. Lancaster Bible led in second-chance points 16-2.

Saturday at home with SUNY Poly, the Wildcats fell, 92-81, to drop to 6-16 overall, 4-9 in the conference and 4-5 in the NEAC South Division. Garvis led four Penn College players in double figures with 22 points while Sosa scored 21 and moved into fourth on the men’s all-time scoring list with 1,199, Elijah Vazquez, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, added 17 points and Fred Young, of Waterbury, Connecticut, tallied 10.

Before the game, seniors Sosa; Garvis; Vazquez; Ryan Lockman, of White Salmon, Washington; Frank Tuason, of Tuckahoe, New York; and Trey McCullough, of Stuart, Florida, were honored.

In North Eastern Athletic Conference action this week (records through Sunday): At Gallaudet University (5-17 overall, 5-8 NEAC), 5 p.m. Tuesday; at Keuka College (5-15 overall, 4-9 NEAC), 6 p.m. Friday; at Wells College (3-19 overall, 2-11 NEAC), 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last meeting vs. Gallaudet University: Won 74-60 Jan. 25. (2-7 lifetime).

Last meeting vs. Keuka College: Lost 78-56 Jan. 13, 2019. (0-6 lifetime).

Last meeting vs. Wells College: Won 81-70 Jan. 12, 2019. (1-5 lifetime).

NEAC South Division standings (through Sunday): Penn State Harrisburg 8-1, Lancaster Bible College 7-2, Penn College 4-5, Gallaudet University 4-5, Penn State Abington 2-7, Penn State Berks 2-7.

NEAC North Division standings (through Sunday): Morrisville State College 7-2, SUNY Poly 7-2, SUNY Cobleskill 5-4, Cazenovia College 4-5, Keuka College 3-6, Wells College 1-8.

Statistically speaking in the NEAC Top 20: Lockman is No. 1, hitting 66% of his field goal attempts. Garvis is eighth, with 7.2 rebounds per game; 12th, hitting 37.7% of his 3-point shots; 18th, hitting 48.5% of his field goal attempts; 18th in scoring with 259 points; and 19th, averaging 11.8 points per game. Vazquez is tied for eighth in 3-point shooting percentage at 39.9; tied for 14th, averaging 2.6 assists per game; 16th in scoring with 291 points; and 17th, averaging 13.2 points per game. Sosa is eighth in scoring with 364 points; ninth, averaging 16.5 points per game; ninth, with seven rebounds per game; and 13th, hitting 50.4% of his field goal attempts. Damon Kreider, of Landisville, is tied for 14th, hitting 50% of his field goal attempts.

Women’s basketball
Wednesday at home in conference action with Lancaster Bible College, the Wildcats lost, 70-50. Cassi Kuhns, of Loyalsock Township, topped Penn College with 16 points and Ja’Quela Dyer, of Dover, Delaware, added 13 points and had nine rebounds. Lancaster Bible had a 44-28 rebound advantage.

Hosting SUNY Poly on Saturday, Penn College lost, 71-53, falling to 5-16 overall, 2-11 in the conference and 1-8 in the NEAC South. Madison Klock, of Elysburg, led the Wildcats with 12 points and Tori Wolfe, of Dalmatia, had 16 rebounds. Wolfe also was honored on Senior Day before the game.

In North Eastern Athletic Conference action this week (records through Sunday): At Gallaudet University (9-13 overall, 7-6 NEAC), 7 p.m. Tuesday; at Keuka College (9-11 overall, 5-8 NEAC), 8 p.m. Friday; at Wells College (0-22 overall, 0-13 NEAC), 3 p.m. Saturday.

Last meeting vs. Gallaudet University: Lost 76-65 Jan. 25. (2-7 lifetime).

Last meeting vs. Keuka College: Lost 59-39 Jan. 13, 2019. (1-5 lifetime).

Last meeting vs. Wells College: Lost 56-46 Jan. 12, 2019. (0-7 lifetime).

NEAC South Division standings (through Sunday): Lancaster Bible College 7-2, Penn State Harrisburg 6-3, Penn State Berks 6-3, Gallaudet University 4-5, Penn State Abington 3-6, Penn College 1-8.

NEAC North Division standings (through Sunday): SUNY Poly 9-0, Morrisville State College 7-2, Keuka College 4-5, Cazenovia College 4-5, SUNY Cobleskill 3-6, Wells College 0-9.

Statistically speaking in the NEAC Top 20: Dyer is tied for No. 2, averaging 8.8 rebounds per game; tied for No. 2, with 1.3 blocks per game; No. 7 with 177 rebounds; and No. 17, hitting 40.8% of her field goal shots. Kuhns is No. 8, averaging 8 rebounds per game; No. 8 with 169 rebounds; tied for No. 10, hitting 42.4% of her field goal shots; No. 19 in scoring with 251 points; and No. 20, averaging 12 points per game. Klock is tied for sixth, averaging 3.8 assists per game, and tied for ninth, averaging 2.1 steals per game. Lydia Albert, of Trout Run, is 10th, hitting 35% of her 3-point shots. Wolfe is No. 7 with one block per game; No. 17, averaging 6.9 rebounds per game; and No. 17 with 145 rebounds. Keyona Shoff, of Shamokin, is No. 19, averaging 2.5 assists per game.

Wrestling
Hosting SUNY Brockport on Friday, Penn College fell, 46-3, dropping to 6-20. The Wildcats’ lone points came on a decision win by Erik Schreck, of Northampton, at 157 pounds.

SCHEDULE/RECORDS/RESULTS
Men’s basketball
Overall: 6-16
NEAC: 4-9
Wednesday, Feb. 12 – host Lancaster Bible College (NEAC), L, 71-52
Saturday, Feb. 15 – host SUNY Poly (NEAC), L, 92-81
Tuesday, Feb. 18 – at Gallaudet University (NEAC), 5 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 21 – at Keuka College (NEAC), 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 22 – at Wells College (NEAC), 1 p.m.
End of regular season

Women’s basketball
Overall 5-16
NEAC: 2-11
Wednesday, Feb. 12 – host Lancaster Bible College (NEAC), L, 70-50
Saturday, Feb. 15 – host SUNY Poly (NEAC), L, 71-53
Tuesday, Feb. 18 – at Gallaudet University (NEAC), 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 21 – at Keuka College (NEAC), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 22 – at Wells College (NEAC), 3 p.m.
End of regular season

Wrestling
Overall: 6-20
Friday, Feb. 14 – host SUNY Brockport, L, 46-3
Sunday, Feb. 23 – Northeast/Mideast Futures Tournament at Muhlenberg College, 9 a.m.
Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 29-March 1 – NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships at Ithaca N.Y. College, 11 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. Sunday (Penn College moves from the Southeast to the Mideast region this year)
Friday-Saturday, March 13-14 – NCAA Division III Championships at Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Baseball
Overall: 0-0
NEAC: 0-0
Saturday, Feb. 22 – at Stockton University, 11:30 a.m.

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 27

 

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