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Penn College Baseball Team Set for Season Opener

Twelve of the 19 players on the Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball roster return from the fall squad and, in a surprise, so does coach Mike Stanzione.

Stanzione had retired from the post after 11 seasons during which time his Wildcat teams went 222-131, won four Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference championships and reached the postseason playoffs 19 times and was succeeded by Williamsport native Dave Cipriani.

But, a week into practice, Cipriani received word that he couldn’t hold the paid position without jeopardizing his retirement, so he stepped down, becoming a volunteer assistant instead, and Stanzione stepped back up.

“(Dave) will be a tremendous asset to the program. He’ll be a tremendous help. It will give the team a chance to have more instruction, which can only be a positive thing,” Stanzione said.

The coach added that he will re-evaluate his coaching future at the end of the season.

This season, Stanzione expects to build around pitchers Mike Akers (freshman/Muncy), Travis Pena (sophomore/Williamsport), Andy Roth (freshman/Catasauqua) and Christian Scheller (freshman/North Pocono). Of the four, all are right-handers except Roth. Freshman Thomas Fisch (Scranton Prep) will be the team’s closer.

“I’m really expecting my pitching to be my strength. With my new assistant working with the infield and defense, hopefully we can solidify that. And then, if our hitting comes around, we can start to make our move,” Stanzione said.

Starting in the infield will be shortstop Robert Petrosky (freshman/Jersey Shore), third baseman Travis Fairbanks (freshman/Athens), first baseman Ted Kirner (freshman/Central Bucks West) and Scheller at second base, when he’s not on the mound. Eric Hammerschmidt (freshman/Okemos, Mich.) will back up Scheller at second. Jason Troutman (freshman/Upper Dauphin) will be behind the plate.

Mike Daciw (freshman/Sun Valley), the Wildcats’ leading hitter in the fall with a .423 batting average, will start in left field; Dave Felter (freshman/Montour) will be in center field and Shawn Smith (sophomore/North Pocono) will be in right field.

John Pool (freshman/Downingtown) will serve as the team’s designated hitter.

Also on the roster are pitcher-catcher Chris Faerber (freshman/Newport), pitcher Ricky King (freshman/Montgomery), pitcher-third baseman Greg Nowicki (freshman/Goshen, N.Y.), pitcher-outfielder Kevin Ramberger (freshman/Millersburg) and outfielder Curtis Taylor (freshman/Hershey). Of the players, all are returnees from the fall except Akers, Faerber, Fisch, Nowicki, Pool, Scheller and Smith.

“We’re coming back off a rough fall semester (9-15 overall and 8-10 in the conference), but we have the core people back who played well for us last semester and we’ve added a few new guys who are going to come in and help,” Stanzione said.

“The defense looks solid to me. Obviously, we’re going to get a real good test when we play Keystone (the season opener Wednesday), they’re the defending state champions. That will be a tremendous gauge of how good we are early in the season,” the coach added.

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