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Wildcat Baseball Team on Field Crew for Major League Game

When the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates square off Aug. 20 in the MLB Little League Classic, there will be a few familiar faces at the nationally televised event. Approximately 20 Penn College baseball players and head coach Chris Howard will be responsible for the field tarp in case of inclement weather at the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game.

“I’ve never had a quicker reply to a group text from any team as I did when I asked the guys who wanted to volunteer for this,” Howard recalled. “I had all 20 volunteers well within an hour.”

Penn College baseball team on field-crew duty for major league gameHoward says the idea originated with Little League President and CEO Steve Keener when asked by Major League if there were grounds crew members for the Little League World Series that could handle the tarp. Keener suggested to Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour, who also serves as chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors, that the college’s baseball team would be a good choice.

And Howard and Co. were more than willing to help out.

“It’s going to be exciting to see Major Leaguers in our dugout on our home field,” Howard said of sharing BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field with the Cardinals and Pirates.

It’s a familiar field to Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and manager Clint Hurdle; McCutchen played for the Crosscutters in 2005 and Hurdle managed the Williamsport Bills in 1991. Hurdle’s stint in Billtown, ironically, came one year after Howard – who played for two seasons with the Bills before moving up in the Seattle Mariners organization – was promoted to the Mariners Triple-A team.

The Wildcats baseball team will go through several days of training prior to the big game. On Thursday and Friday before the game, the team will have about 10 hours of practice moving and removing the tarp, while Saturday brings a 12-hour standby day in case of inclement weather. On game day, the team will arrive at 7 a.m. and help where needed around the park before the 7 p.m. start time.

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