Skip to main content

Penn College Second in Baseball; Archery Team Seeks Titles

And then there was one.

After the Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball team completed its season Sunday with a second-place finish in the North Eastern Athletic Conference, the archery squad will put a wrap on the college’s 2017-18 athletic season this coming weekend when it competes in the Collegiate Outdoor Nationals at Easton Newberry Archery Center, Newberry, Florida.

Seeded second and earning a first-round bye, Penn College opened the NEAC playoffs on Friday with a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Penn State Abington to set up a showdown on Saturday against top-seeded, regular-season and two-time defending champion Penn State Berks. Tournament host Berks advanced Friday with a 16-0 win over Keuka College.

In the Abington game, the Wildcats trailed 2-0 after three innings, then got one back in the fifth and added two in the seventh with a single by Cody Cline, of Waynesboro, driving in the game-winning run. Starting pitcher Max Bair, of Centre Hall, went seven innings and improved to 4-2 for Penn College while reliever Devon Sanders, of Bloomsburg, earned his second save.

Against Berks on Saturday, Penn College fell 3-0 after being two-hit and stranding six base runners, dropping it into a loser’s-bracket game against Penn State Abington, which eliminated Keuka College, 9-7, earlier in the day.

Facing Abington for the second time in two days, the Wildcats’ bats came alive with 15 hits in a 9-4 win that earned a rematch with Penn State Berks. Against Abington, seven Penn College players had two hits each and Ben Flicker, of Topton, plated two runs with singles. Starting Penn College pitcher Cody Nelson, of South Williamsport, went 5 1/3 innings and held Abington in check before giving way to Sanders, who allowed just one hit and no runs over the final 3 2/3 innings. Penn State Abington stranded 14 base runners during the contest.

Going into Sunday’s game against Penn State Berks, Penn College needed two wins to claim the conference championship and, with it, an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships from May 25-29 in Appleton, Wisconsin.

When Berks opened a 7-0 lead after two innings and led 11-3 after six frames, things looked dim for the Wildcats before an eight-run Penn College seventh, highlighted by a three-run homer by Brittan Kittle, of Millville, and two-run single by Alex Zelger, of Red Lion, evened the score at 11. But Berks came back with five runs in the bottom half of the seventh and added a single run in the eighth to seal a 17-12 win and end the Wildcats’ season at 20-15 overall and 11-5 in all conference games. For Penn College, Richard Lennon, of Morgantown, had three hits, including a two-run home run in the fourth inning, and Noah Esposito, of Williamsport, finished with two runs batted in.

Since joining the NEAC in 2015, Penn College has one first-place finish (2015) and two seconds (last year and this). In addition to its current three-year title win streak, Penn State Berks won in 2014 and ended second in 2015. Counting regular season and playoff games this season against Berks, the Wildcats were 0-4, all over a nine-day span.

In 12 seasons, Penn College coach Chris Howard’s teams have gone 270-166.

Earlier in the week, four Wildcats were named to the all-conference team: Kittle, a sophomore, was named to the First Team; senior Bair and sophomores Flicker and Cline were named to the Second Team.

During the regular season, Kittle, who was a Second Team selection last season, played in all 31 games behind the plate, batting .366 on 37 hits, with three home runs and 29 runs batted in. Defensively, he had .978 fielding percentage, on 152 putouts, and threw out nine base runners.

Bair, a First Team selection last year, was 3-2 in seven appearances and boasted a 2.97 earned run average. He struck out 30 batters, 6.86 per game, was named NEAC Pitcher of the Week once and had one complete game.

Flicker, last season’s NEAC Rookie of the Year, played in all 31 games and had a .378 batting average, on 45 hits, with 23 RBIs, three home runs and 24 runs scored. The third baseman had an .864 fielding percentage on 29 putouts.

Cline finished the regular season with a .388 batting average on 40 hits, with 25 RBIs and 28 runs scored. He stole 12 bases, had eight doubles, one triple and one inside-the-park home run. He was perfect in the outfield with a 1.000 fielding percentage on 35 putouts.

Official practice and opening ceremonies will be held Thursday. There will be a 72-arrow qualifying round Friday morning with mixed team rounds following. Another 72-arrow qualifying round will be held Saturday prior to the official team rounds later that day. Competition wraps up on Sunday with the Olympic individual head-to-head knockout rounds.

Competing for Penn College will be:

Men’s compound – Markus Weber, of La Plata, Maryland; Tyler Schoonover, of Bradford; and Tim Lamont, of Eldred.

Women’s compound – Chelsea Douglass, of East Greenville; Sabrina Toplovich, of Spring Creek; and Sapphire Naugle, of Jersey Shore.

Men’s bowhunter – Nathaniel Haefka, of Wyalusing; Justin Rinehimer, of Mountain Top; and John Kleinfelter, of Lebanon.

Mixed compound – Weber and Douglass.

Mixed recurve – Kaylee Burk, of Hermitage, and Tanner Huff, of Altoona.

Mixed bowhunter – Rylee Butler, of Bellefonte, and Haefka.

“There is a chance that some of those members could switch teams if someone is shooting really, really well,” coach Chad Karstetter said.

“We’ve had a really good season so far,” continued Karstetter, in his 16th season. “At the Adam Wheatcroft Memorial (April 14-15 in Harrisonburg, Virginia) we had a really good event down there and a lot of them shot really well. Then, at the Outdoor Eastern Regionals (hosted April 21-22 by Penn College), we had a few gold medals come out of there and individually we did very well. (Assistant coach) Dustin (Bartron) and I both are very proud of the team and proud of the accomplishments they have had all year.

“Heading into nationals, we’re looking really strong. We’re going to have some pretty good finishers in the compound divisions. Overall, we’re probably not going to place very high because we’re not going to field a team in the men’s recurve, women’s recurve and women’s bowhunter. But in the other divisions that we are going to compete in … I expect that we’re going to place pretty high.”

Without naming names, Karstetter believes at least five of his archers are capable of earning All-American status, as a result of their indoor and outdoor national results. Since 1997, 41 Wildcats have been honored 84 times with that coveted award, including Karstetter three times in the late 1990s. He also was the national Coach of the Year in 2011.

“Everybody is really excited to head down (to Florida) and see how good we can do,” the coach added. “It will be a long week getting down there, but it’s going to be fun. We’ll make the best of it.”

Final overall: 20-15
Final NEAC: 11-5 (9-3 regular season)
Friday, May 11 – NEAC Championships at Penn State Berks vs. Penn State Abington, W, 3-2
Saturday, May 12 – NEAC Championships at Penn State Berks vs. Penn State Berks, L, 3-0
Saturday, May 12 – NEAC Championships at Penn State Berks vs. Penn State Abington, W, 9-4
Sunday, May 13 – NEAC Championships at Penn State Berks vs. Penn State Berks, L, 17-12

May 17-20 – Collegiate Outdoor Nationals at Easton Newberry Archery Center, Newberry, Fla.
(End of season)

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 40

Subscribe to PCToday Daily Email.