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Penn College ‘Sitting Pretty Good’ as Fall Baseball Season Ends

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s baseball team split at Penn State Beaver on Saturday and closed out its fall season with a 16-7 record, 7-3 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference. The two teams finished tied for first.

“We’re sitting pretty good right now,” Penn College coach Chris Howard said, pointing out that, this season, rather than a two-division format, all of the conference’s teams are playing in one division. The top four teams with the best records at the end of the spring season will vie for the championship. The spring season begins in early April and ends in early May.

Penn College opened its fall season with back-to-back doubleheader sweeps of Northampton County Community College, and Howard couldn’t have been more pleased with the results or the team’s hitting.

“We really came out and hit the ball well. We put up nearly 40 runs in those four games and got the good defense and pitching, like we have all year,” the coach said.

“I was wondering how we were going to do offensively. We had only been practicing for three days. I was concerned if the bats were going to be there, but that took all of three innings before I realized they really hadn’t missed a beat,” Howard added.

Next came a split with Luzerne, a loss to Lehigh-Carbon and splits with Alfred (N.Y.) State, a Division II school, and Penn State Abington.

“Defensively and pitching-wise there were no complaints whatsoever. We just couldn’t get some timely hits when we needed them,” Howard said of that stretch. Of the losses at Penn State Abington, he added, “We played like a team that had been stuck on a bus for six hours,” and it literally had, caught in traffic after an accident.

Then came the best stretch of the season, eight straight wins during which the Wildcats outscored their foes 77-15.

“The games against Penn State Delaware were the very next day after Penn State Abington, and those are the two games where we came out and established ourselves as the team to beat. Delaware is tough. We came back and won in 10 innings in the second game. It really got the guys pumped up,” Howard said. “The guys really stepped it up and played probably their two best games of the year.”

Commenting on his team’s pitching, Howard said, “Mark Shaffer (junior/Hanover) has been absolutely fantastic this season and Dan Preston (junior/Montrose) has been solid every time he has stepped out on the mound.” Howard also cited the pitching of Justin Trefsger (sophomore/Ashland).

“The pitching has done a great job, and, with the defense we have behind them, it’s real easy to go out and throw strikes, be aggressive in the strike zone and let your defense do the work,” he said.

Offensively, Howard said not enough can be said about twin brothers Phil (a junior) and James (a senior) Woodring of Waynesboro.

“They’re hitting the cover off the ball. They’re a heck of a one-two punch to have at the top of the lineup. It seems that, every time they get up, they’re on base. It’s a nice problem to have, trying to figure out how to drive those guys in every time,” Howard said.

The coach also mentioned the offensive contributions of Devon Liquori (junior/Hawley), Cody Lytle (junior/Warrior Run) and Dan Glick (freshman/Belleview).

“We have the bats through the lineup. We’re a good ball club in all phases of the game,” Howard added.

“Without a doubt, they’re our biggest competition in the league,” Howard said of Penn State Beaver.

In the first doubleheader split a week ago, Beaver got a strong performance from its starting pitcher and won its game in the 10th inning. The Wildcats breezed in the second game.

Saturday, it was just the opposite. Penn College built a 5-2 lead through six innings in the opener and then blew things open with a 13-run seventh as Shaffer got the win in an 18-2 victory. In the nightcap, Penn State Beaver scored four runs in the fourth inning for a 5-0 lead and limited the Wildcats to a pair of runs in the seventh.

Now, the team has the winter off, before returning in the spring in hopes of regaining the championship it won two years ago.

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

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