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Two Wildcat spring sports teams look to playoffs

Regular-season play for Pennsylvania College of Technology golf and tennis teams began just two weeks ago and – because of pared-down schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic – by this week’s end, their seasons will be over.

Golfers are scheduled to compete Saturday and Sunday in North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship play at Harrisburg’s Dauphin Highlands Golf Course while the men’s and women’s tennis teams are hopeful of a weekend NEAC tournament bid once they wrap up their regular seasons Tuesday.

Golf
On Wednesday, Kohltin Bartlow, of Montgomery, and Sean McNamara, of Lancaster, each shot 81 and tied for 17th as Penn College totaled 331 to finished fourth among six teams in the North Eastern Athletic Conference Preview at Dauphin Highlands.

Also for the Wildcats, Alex Acree, of Brookville, shot an 84 and ended 21st; Karson Felty, of Pine Grove, fired an 85 and placed 22nd; and Nathan Hoyer, of Windsor, shot a 91 and was 27th.

Penn State Harrisburg took top honors with a 305 and was followed by Rutgers University-Camden at 307; Penn State Berks, 322; Penn College; and Lancaster Bible College, 353. Penn State Abington did not finish. Chris Colman, of Rutgers-Camden, and Nick DeGirolamo, of Penn State Abington, shared medalist honors with 2-over-par 74s.

That set the stage for this weekend’s NEAC Championships.

“Our players learned that they need to hit the ball in the right location (low side vs. high side) around the greens in order to leave themselves with easier putts,” coach Matt Haile said of the 6,756-yard, par 72 championship site course.

“The green complexes are very large and undulating and, just because you hit every green, doesn’t mean that it will be an easy task to one- or two-putt. You have to be able to see the break and judge the speed to give yourself easy tap-ins or it will make for a mentally challenging day leaving ourselves with those knee-knocking 3½-5-foot putts,” Haile continued.

“From the tee, they learned that the fairways are pretty generous and rough isn’t too penalizing, but accuracy always wins and this is something we need to work on in the week ahead to give us better approach shots to the greens,” the coach said.

The keys to improving their play and finishes in a short amount of time?

“It will take mental toughness and determination. We talked about the areas of improvement needed in each of their games and where they lost shots in the events we played this season. We will use the time before championships to try and improve and gain some confidence back in their games,” Haile said.

Rutgers-Camden was the conference’s last title-winner in 2019.

Tennis
At Penn State Berks on Saturday in NEAC play, the women’s team posted its first win since Sept. 28, 2019, 5-4, while the men’s team fell, 6-3.

For the women, capturing their singles matches were Georgia Macensky, of Wellsboro, at No. 3; Amber Leitzel, of Mifflinburg, at No. 4; Marcie Harman, of Nescopeck, at No. 5; and Cassie Shook, of Westport, at No. 6. Macensky/Leitzel also prevailed at No. 2 doubles.

For the men, Tucker Phillippe-Johansson, of Mattituck, New York, won at No. 1 singles and Daniel Gianelle, of Salisbury, Maryland, won at No. 6 singles while Gianelle and Tommy Cavanagh, of New Hope, teamed for a win at No. 3 doubles.

Returning to the courts Sunday, Penn College men and women both lost their NEAC matches at Penn State Harrisburg by scores of 4-5 and 0-9, respectively. The Wildcat men fell to 0-3 and the women to 1-2.

For the men, Phillippe-Johansson won for the third time this season at No. 1 singles and Gianelle won at No. 5 singles. In doubles for the Wildcat men, Johansson/Jesse Kight, of Williamsport, won at No. 1, and Gianelle/Cavanaugh won at No. 3.

According to coach Jessica Bower, playoff bids “depend on everyone else’s records. It looks like both teams may be playing in for the fourth seed.”

Bower also noted, “There are no individuals this year (and possibly moving forward),” which means that Phillippe-Johansson won’t be able to defend the singles championship he won in 2019 at the No. 2 spot and his share of the No. 2 doubles title he won with now-graduated teammate Will DeMarco, of Glen Mills. Phillippe-Johansson also won NEAC Rookie of the Year honors that year.

Baseball
At Penn State Harrisburg on Thursday, the Wildcats were swept by scores of 6-1 in seven innings and 11-3 in eight innings. Penn College is winless in four games against Penn State Harrisburg this season.

In Thursday’s opener, Cameron Dick, of Dillsburg, had two of the team’s four hits and Connor Burke, of St. Clair, had a double as Penn College stranded 10 base runners. On the mound, Justin Porter, of Fairless Hills, went four innings and took the loss.

In the second game, Burke doubled and drove in one run while Jake Wagner, of Palmyra, hit a two-run homer. Penn State Harrisburg broke open what had been a two-run game with a six-run fifth inning. Wildcats’ starting pitcher Jason Cute, of Glenside, took the loss.

Hosting Wells College on Saturday, the Wildcats won by scores of 5-3 and 6-5.

In Saturday’s opener, Penn College scored two runs in each of the first two innings. Burke, who scored twice, and Jacob Carles, of Bernville, each finished with two hits, with Carles lacing a triple. Starting pitcher Ben Bretzman, of Bendersville, went five innings, striking out seven, for his second win.

Brittan Kittle, of Millville, went 3 for 3 at the plate with two doubles in Saturday’s second game and scored two runs and Burke had a two-run single to help make a winner of relief pitcher Evan Nagy, of Loyalsock Township.

Back in action Sunday, this time at Wells College, Penn College took the first game, 9-8, and lost the second, 2-1, as its conference record was evened at 6-6.

With the first-game score knotted at 8-all after four innings, both teams had goose eggs through the next four frames before doubles by Tyler Rudolph, of Hemlock, New York, and Wagner brought home what proved to be the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning. Hunter Jordan, of Middleburg, earned the mound win in relief and Joe Fatzinger, of Topton, earned a save after shutting the door and fanning two in the bottom of the ninth. Shane Price, of Kersey, and Kittle each had three hits with Price plating three runs – two of them on a second-inning double. Carles had two doubles during the game and scored three times.

In Sunday’s nightcap, Kittle had two hits and plated the lone run as the Wildcats were limited to four hits after pounding out 15 in the opener. Penn College pitcher Chance Webb, of Hughesville, went the distance, allowing just four hits and striking out five.

Also last week, Porter, a sophomore, was named the NEAC Pitcher of the Week after allowing just three hits while striking out eight and walking none in six innings of work in a 2-0 win over Lancaster Bible College on April 7.

NEAC standings through Sunday: Penn State Harrisburg, 12-0; Penn State Abington, 4-0; Penn College, 6-6; Lancaster Bible College, 5-7; Wells College, 4-8; and Penn State Berks, 1-11.

Softball
In one of the most lopsided scores in team history, the Wildcats blanked Wells College 34-0 in five innings Wednesday in a NEAC matchup that saw Wells forfeit the second scheduled game, giving Penn College a 9-1 conference record.

Shayla Bickel, of Shinglehouse, led the 24-hit assault with a 3-for-4 batting performance that included a triple, seven runs batted in and three runs scored. Also for Penn College, Maddie Hurst, of Mechanicsburg, went 5 for 5 with two doubles, three RBIs and four runs scored while seven other players drove in two runs each, among them Ivvy Morder, of Mechanicsburg, who also had a pair of doubles.

Kyla Benner, of Bethlehem, improved to 5-0 on the mound with a three-strikeout performance while recording her third shutout of the season.

NEAC standings through Sunday: Penn State Abington, 2-0; Penn College, 9-1; Penn State Berks, 9-1; Penn State Harrisburg, 6-6; Lancaster Bible College, 2-6; Morrisville State College, 0-6; Wells College, 0-7.

Men’s lacrosse
For the second week in a row, the Wildcats came out victorious when they scored a 16-5 win at home Saturday over Medaille College to improve to 2-1.

Quinn Caviola, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, led the Penn College offense with four goals and three assists and four other players scored two goals.

The Wildcats led in both shots (52-35) and shots on goal (37-17). Goalie Andrew Gobbi, of Haymarket, Virginia, had 12 saves.

Seniors Gobbi; Stephen Lepore, of Palmyra; Dylan Spanier, of Dillsburg; and Garrett Corso, of Caldwell, New Jersey, were honored before the game.

Also last week, Caviola, a freshman, was named the NEAC Men’s Lacrosse Player of the Week for his four-goal, two-assist effort April 11 in a 16-8 win over La Roche University.

SCHEDULES/RECORDS/RESULTS
Baseball
NEAC: 6-6
Thursday, April 15 – at Penn State Harrisburg, L, 6-1 in 7 innings; L, 11-3 in 8 innings
Saturday, April 17 – host Wells College at Bowman Field, W, 5-3 in 7 innings; W, 6-5 in 9 innings
Sunday, April 18 – at Wells College, W, 9-8 in 9 innings; L, 2-1 in 7 innings
Wednesday, April 21 – host Penn State Abington at Bowman Field (2), 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – host Lancaster Bible College at Bowman Field (2), 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 28 – at Penn State Berks (2), 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 15 – NEAC Championship, TBA

Softball
NEAC: 9-1
Wednesday, April 14 – host Wells College at Elm Park, W, 34-0 in 5 innings; W, forfeit.
Saturday, April 17 – at Penn State Abington (2), ppd. (COVID pause)
Thursday, April 22 – at Penn State Abington (2), 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – at Morrisville State College (2), 1 p.m.
Thursday, April 29 – at Penn State Harrisburg (2), 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – host Penn State Berks at Elm Park (2), 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 6 – at Wells College (2), 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 15 – NEAC Championship, TBA

Men’s Lacrosse
NEAC: 2-1
Saturday, April 17 – host Medaille College, W, 16-5
Saturday, April 24 – at Wells College, 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – at Hilbert College, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, May 5 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Championship, TBA

Golf
Tuesday, April 13 – vs. Lycoming College at Williamsport Country Club, ppd.
Wednesday, April 14 – NEAC Preview at Harrisburg’s Dauphin Highlands Golf Course, 4th in a 6-team field
Saturday-Sunday, April 24-25 – NEAC Championship at Harrisburg’s Dauphin Highlands Golf Course, noon

Men’s Tennis
NEAC: 0-3
Saturday, April 17 – at Penn State Berks, L, 6-3
Sunday, April 18 – at Penn State Harrisburg, L, 5-4
Tuesday, April 20 – host Penn State Abington, 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Tuesday, April 27 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 1 – NEAC Championship, TBA

Women’s Tennis
NEAC: 1-2
Saturday, April 17 – at Penn State Berks, W, 5-4
Sunday, April 18 – at Penn State Harrisburg, L, 9-0
Tuesday, April 20 – host Penn State Abington, 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Tuesday, April 27 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 1 – NEAC Championship, TBA

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website. (NOTE: All playoff schedules are taken from that site).

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