Baseball Team Under New Coach

Published 03.24.2005


When the Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball team takes to the field Tuesday at Lehigh Carbon Community College, it will do so under a new head coach.

Rees Daneker, a longtime assistant in the scholastic baseball programs both at Montoursville and Loyalsock Township, succeeds Mike Stanzione as coach of the Wildcats. Stanzione, whose Penn College teams went 261-167 in 13 seasons, resigned the post after last fall's campaign to devote all of his time to his job as the College's athletic director.

Daneker carries the title as head coach, but he sees himself and volunteer assistants Alan Morgan of Williamsport, Paul Cristini of Montoursville and Tom Herrold of Milton as "co-coaches."

"I take what they tell me and we bat things back and forth. I don't run everything," Daneker explained.

Although most of his experience has been on the high-school level (he retired from teaching in 2003 after 33 years in the Montoursville Area School District), Daneker is looking forward to the collegiate challenge.

"It's been a little tough, considering I just got hired three weeks ago. We're behind the 8-ball, but the kids are working their tails off," Daneker said.

"Actually, it's much easier coaching in college than high school. These kids want to be here. Nobody's on scholarship. A lot of them are 22, 23 (years old) and some of them haven't played in a few years. It's fun. You can tell they're having fun,"he continued.

"It's my main job and it's perfect because I can go recruit, and, if I get home late from a game, I don't have to worry about going to work the next day," he chuckled.

Two Wildcat players who return from last fall's team that went 8-13 and reached the playoffs in both the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference and Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference earned all-conference honors. They are freshmen David Miller, a center fielder from Pen Argyl, and Brad Reed, a second baseman from Pine Grove.

There are only three sophomores on the squad − Tyler Cullen, a pitcher/first baseman from New Fairfield; Travis Fairbanks, a pitcher from Athens, and John Vitovsky, a pitcher from Western Wayne.

Doug Sponseller (Hanover) is expected to be the team's fourth starting pitcher, while among the others who could see mound action are Derrick Cimini (South Williamsport) and Perry Shuey (Williams Valley). All of the pitchers are right-handed.

Splitting time behind the plate will be Ben Eyster (Selinsgrove) and Courtney Shreiner (Mercersburg Academy).

Matt Comp (Newport) will start at first base with Cullen and Justin Wanner (Conrad Weiser) backing him up. Tim Holton (Avon Grove) is expected to start at third base and Jim Woodring (Waynesboro) should start at shortstop.

In the outfield with Miller will be Jason Fulmer (Wyalusing), Jon Ohler (Berlin-Brothers) or Matt Doherty (Belvidere) in left, with Josh Torres (Bucks Tech) in right. Joe Vassallo (Windsor, Conn.) could see some outfield play and is expected to do some relief pitching, too.

Clayton Stauffer (Boyestown) and Ryan Stuart (Cameron County) will see duty as designated hitters.

"Defensively were going to be fine, and I think out hitting is going to be fine. But when we have doubleheaders on a Saturday and Sunday, we're going to be thin on pitching," Daneker said. "We're working with anybody who says they're willing to try it (pitching). Next year I hope to recruit a solid group of pitchers."

Although his team hasn't been on a baseball field yet, and won't because of the weather before its first game,the coachisn't concerned.

"I'm not worried about it. When I was with Montoursville, we used to travel down South and we'd never get on a field before we went, but we were always competitive working out of the gym. That doesn't bother me. We've been able to throw 90 feet around, and as long as you can make those throws you'll adjust to everything else," Daneker said.

"I'm excited! I'm really enjoying the Penn College atmosphere. The kids have been great. They've been willing to work. Nobody's complaining. They're just out there working as hard as they can every day. We get our work done and get back to class,"he added.