Wildcat Baseball Team Hoping All's Well That Ends Well

Published 10.07.2001


It's not how you start, but how you finish.

Pennsylvania College of Technology's baseball team closed out its regular season by winning five of its final six games jumping from fifth to second in the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference standings and coach Mike Stanzione likes his squad's changes going into this weekend's conference tournament at Keystone College in La Plume.

"We're finishing hotter than anybody else in the league, so I think we're somebody that most people are a little concerned with. We're coming into the playoffs on a high note, and, hopefully, we'll be able to continue that," the coach said.

The Wildcats, 15-7 overall, 11-5 in the conference and making their 14th consecutive post-season playoff appearance, open tourney action Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Penn State-Abington (10-6 in the league). Regular-season champ Keystone College (13-3) squares off with Northampton County Community College (10-6) in the 9:30 a.m. opener. Losers of the day's first two games battle at 3 p.m., with the loser of that game eliminated.

On Sunday at 9:30 a.m., winners of Saturday's first two games square off, with the loser of that game meeting the winner of Saturday's 3 p.m. contest at 12:30 p.m. Winners of Sunday's 9:30 and 12:30 games play at 3 p.m., although if the team with one loss comes back to win that contest, a final game will be played on Tuesday at 1 p.m., also in La Plume, to decide the champion.

Looking back at the regular season, Stanzione, whose record in 10 seasons at Penn College is now 204-105, said, "They struggled early and tried to find that team identity, and, like a lot of my teams in the past, the second half of the season they jelled as a team and played their best baseball. This team was successful in peaking at the end of the season.

"Our defense has really solidified, and that's been a key to our success, along with our timely hitting and good pitching."

Players contributing to that late-season success, according to the coach, were three Montoursville High School grads freshmen Ryan Brelsford, a shortstop; Elliott Marchioni, an outfielder, and Alex White, a pitcher along with Zack Meck, a freshman pitcher from Brandywine.

Assessed Stanzione, "Ryan was phenomenal. He hit in the No. 3 spot and was our most consistent hitter in those six games (down the stretch). He was extremely instrumental. "Elliott came on and hit the ball well at the end and got some really key hits. "Meck has been a real powerhouse on the mound. He's been our leading pitcher and he's been very effective. He's just come out of nowhere to be one of our aces."

Meck (4-0) started the season as a relief pitcher, but moved into the rotation when teammate Ryan Adams (freshman/Archbishop Wood) suffered a season-ending arm injury.

"During a game at Keystone, Zack came in during the second inning with us trailing 3-1 and pitched seven innings, because we went extra innings, and we ended up winning 9-8. That's when he showed what he had, and from that moment on he was a starter," Stanzione related.

White, described by Stanzione as "real steady," will be on the mound against Penn State-Abington, with Stan Bair (sophomore/Dover) and Zack following in the rotation. The winner of this weekend's tournament will advance to next weekend's Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association championships for a best-of-three game series against the Western Pennsylvania Athletic Association titleist at home field of the winner from the west.