Freshman-Filled Wildcat Squad Eyes Baseball Opener

Published 08.20.2004


The Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball team will have a new look this season – literally. Of the 23 players on coach Mike Stanzione's roster, 19 are freshmen, and that means all positions are wide open going into Tuesday's opener against Alfred (N.Y.) State. The doubleheader will begin at 5 p.m. at Williamsport's Bowman Field.

"Our first eight games, four doubleheaders, are non-league; so everybody's going to get a chance to play," said Stanzione, who is starting his 13th season at the helm of the Wildcats. During his tenure, Penn College teams have won 253 games and lost 154.

"Defensively, there are no problems. Every player, down to the 23rd man, is good defensively. We're going to put them out there and see which ones can hit in a game situation and then by our first league game, which is Lehigh-Carbon (Sept. 8), we should know who our regular starters are and what role the other players will have for the fall," Sanzione said.

One strength the team will have from the get-go is pitching. Of players on the roster, 11 can pitch, including three of the four sophomores. Sophomores John Vitovsky, a 6-foot, 165-pounder who played high school ball at Western Wayne, is considered the ace of the staff while Andrew Blauvelt, 6-foot, 175, Horseheads, N.Y., and Jared Rabell, 5-8, 175, Northwestern, are expected to be the other early-season starters. Freshmen who will see mound duty are Zachary Baggett (6-1, 175, Loyalsock Township), Tyler Heagy (6-0, 163, Annville-Cleona) and Perry Shuey (5-11, 210, Williams Valley). Like the sophomore hurlers, all of the freshmen pitchers are right-handers.

On the inside track to start in the field at the onset are Nick Lombardi (5-9, 180, Greenwich, Conn.) behind the plate, Matt Comp (6-1, 170, Newport) at first base, James Woodring (5-9, 160, Waynesboro) at second base, Chuck Kline (6-0, 165, Middletown) at shortstop, Matt Flook (5-9, 185, Williamsport) at third base, Heagy in right field, David Miller (5-7, 155, Pen Argyl) in center field and Anton Ferrer (5-9, 178, Hanover) in left field. Ben Eyster (6-0, 170, Selinsgrove) will be the designated hitter. All are freshmen.

Also on the squad are freshmen Derrick Cimini (6,3, 240, South Williamsport), Jason Fulmer (5-11, 160, Wyalusing), Andy Herbert (5-11, 185, Emmett O'Brian, Conn.), Tim Holton (5-11, 180, Avon Grove), Matt Narehood (5-8, 150, Lewistown), Evan PoChedley (5-10, 170, Hamburg, N.Y.), Brad Reed (5-8, 170, Pine Grove) and Courtney Shreiner (6-0, 210, Mercersburg Academy) and sophomore Chris Horsefield (5-3, 160, Central Columbia).

"The first goal is to get team chemistry. That's the key to any team. And when you only have six days from the time you meet the kids until you play your first game, that's something that has to start to develop," said Stanzione. "So far, everyone seems to be working together well. There are no attitudes on the team."

Another goal for Penn College will be to reach the postseason playoffs, and it will have two opportunities to do so this year as a member of both the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference and the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference. The top four teams reach the EPCC playoffs and the first-place finisher in the CCAC East Division advances. Dave Cipriani will work as a volunteer assistant with Stanzione again this fall, but the squad is seeking another person to fill the role of a paid assistant.

NOTE: All regular-season games are doubleheaders.