Big Weekend on Tap for Wildcat Sports Teams
The biggest weekend of the spring season is on tap for four Pennsylvania College of Technology sports teams, and two of the teams will have a home-field advantage.
In baseball, the Wildcats of coach Rees Daneker host the four-team, double-elimination Penn State University Athletic Conference West Division playoffs at Bowman Field on Saturday and Sunday. On the same days, coach Chad Karstetter's archery team hosts the East Regional Outdoor Intercollegiate Championships on campus near the field house.
In softball Saturday and Sunday, Penn College, coached by Roger Harris, travels to Penn State Harrisburg for the PSUAC West Division playoffs, while the men's volleyball team, under coach Wes Strayer, seeks its second consecutive Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference championship at Northampton County Community College.
In the event of rain for either the baseball or softball tournaments, they will go from seven-inning double-elimination games to nine-inning single-elimination games, said Mike Stanzione, Penn College athletic director.
Penn College enters as the top seed after going 18-4 during the conference portion of its fall and spring seasons. Overall this spring, the team is 14-6.
Action is scheduled to get under way at 10 a.m. Saturday, when second-seeded Penn State Beaver and third-seeded Penn State Fayette meet. The Wildcats take to the field in the second game at 12:30 p.m. against Penn State Harrisburg. Losers of the first two games square off at 3 p.m. that afternoon in Game 3, while the winners of the first two games clash at 6:30 p.m. in Game 4.
Play resumes at 11 a.m. Sunday when the Game 3 winner and Game 4 loser meet. Saturday's Game 4 winner and Sunday's first-game winner meet at 2 p.m. If a second game is needed to decide the champion, it will be played at 4:30 Sunday.
The West Division champ will square off against the East Division winner April 29 at University Park. Teams competing in the East Division playoffs, also this weekend, are Penn State Delaware, Penn State Abington, Penn State Hazleton and Penn State Wilkes-Barre.
"We're very optimistic. We're planning on taking the whole thing," Daneker said.
Jordan Staib (Williamsport) will start on the mound in the first game for the Wildcats, Christian Worth (Williamsport) will get the call in the second game and Austin Upright (Montoursville) will start the third. Other pitchers who may see action are Nate Hill (Loyalsock Township), Brian Bell (Butler) and Dan Preston (Montrose).
Should rain become a factor and the tournament go from double to single elimination, Daneker said, "The difference it makes is that you can't make a mistake. Whenever you are in single elimination, you make a mistake and you're gone.
"But my guys are tough and we're going to play hard. Regardless of how we make out, we've had a great year. It's been very successful."
A joint venture with James Madison University will bring up to half a dozen teams and 60 archers to the Penn College campus for the second year in a row.
Registration will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday with practice beginning at noon. That will be followed by a qualifying round of shooting. After practice at 8 a.m. Sunday, the Olympic round (eliminations and medal rounds) will be shot. The Olympic team round is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, with awards presentations and the naming of the All-East team afterward. All-East team selections will be determined by the combined scores of the Eastern Regional Indoor Championship in March and this weekend's event.
"Things are looking good for the Penn College archery team," Karstetter said. "We have been practicing hard every day and there have been improvements."
In addition to the host schools, others expected to enter teams are Stevens Trade School, Columbia (N.Y.) University, Atlantic Cape (N.J.) Community College, and possibly Penn State.
Should rain become a factor, Karstetter said the tournament will continue as long as there is no thunder and lightning.
"On Saturday, if rain gets too bad after a few rounds of competition, it may be called for the day being that it is only a qualifying round," the Penn College coach said. "Sunday, the tournament will go on, but, if there is bad weather, we will try to wait it out," Karstetter added.
Action gets under way at 10 a.m. Saturday, when Penn College, the second seed, takes on third-seeded Penn State Beaver. At 12:30 p.m., top-seeded Penn State Harrisburg faces fourth-seeded Penn State New Kensington. Losers from the first two games square off at 3 p.m. that afternoon in Game 3, while the winners of the first two games clash at 6:30 p.m. in Game 4.
Play resumes at 11 a.m. Sunday, when the Game 3 winner and Game 4 loser meet. Saturday's Game 4 winner and Sunday's first-game winner meet at 2 p.m. If a second game is needed to decide the champ, it will be played at 4:30 p.m.
The West Division champ will square off against the East Division winner April 29 at University Park. Teams competing in the East Division playoffs, also this weekend, are Penn State Hazleton, Penn State Schuylkill, Penn State Mont Alto and Penn State Scranton.
A doubleheader loss to Penn State Harrisburg on Tuesday dropped the Lady Wildcats to 13-7 overall and 11-7 in the league.
"Defensively, we're getting better. But we still need to work on mental things and increasing our hitting," Harris said. "We need to step our game up."
"When we walk off the field, we have to know that we gave 120 percent. I don't want to walk off thinking, woulda, coulda, shoulda, because we gave 80 percent,"he continued.
"Do we have the ability? Yes. Is there anybody in the league that we shouldn't have been able to beat?" Harris asked. "No. Absolutely nobody!"
Penn College takes a 22-5 record into the EPCC tournament, including a second-place finish in the tough Middle Atlantic Collegiate Volleyball Club League. Also entered are Lehigh Carbon Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College and host Northampton. Teams will compete in round-robin play, with the top two advancing to the championship match.
Because of its strength of schedule and the success it already has had, Penn College enters as a clear favorite.
"I think it's going to be a good tournament. I'm going to get a lot of kids some playing time," Strayer said.
"Lehigh Carbon has a decent team, and, if it puts things together, you can't take it lightly; the same way with HACC. You can't go in and expect to walk all over them,"he said.
"I'm just looking for another EPCC championship,"Strayer added.
Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college's Athletics Web site .