Penn College PSUAC Baseball Champ
Before his team ever played its first game this spring, Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball coach Rees Daneker knew what it would take to be a champion.
"We're sitting pretty good right now. If the guys come out and play like they did in the fall, we should be in pretty good shape," Daneker said in early March, as his squad prepared to open its season. They did, and now they are champions of the Penn State University Athletic Conference.
The PSUAC West Division champ Wildcats completed a 32-11 season Saturday by sweeping the best-of-three series against East winner Penn State Delaware County by scores of 4-2 and 15-3 at Shaner Field near Boalsburg.
"The first game was a tough one. They outhit us 6-4, but we played 'small ball' and came up with four runs and that was all we needed," Daneker said. He simply described the second game as "ugly."
The Wildcats were 13-5 overall and 11-1 in the conference during the fall season. They then went 19-6 this spring and, including playoff games, 11-3 in PSUAC games.
"These kids have worked for a whole year, worked hard. But you don't have to tell them to do this or that. They'd show up, do their work and leave. They had a very professional attitude," said Daneker, in his second season as coach.
During Saturday's first game, Jordan Staib (Williamsport) went the seven-inning distance and got the win on the mound. Mike Daciw (Sun Valley) drove in two of the Wildcats' runs and Phil Woodring (Waynesboro) another.
In the second-game rout, Ryan Eshleman (Penn Manor) went 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles, a triple and five runs batted in to pace the offense.
"Whoever we used did everything in their power to win a game. They sacrificed their bodies on every play the whole year," Daneker said.
Asked who he would name as his team MVP, the coach said, "All 25 of them. There are guys who have contributed more, but at some point in time everybody contributed."
Penn College will lose four players to graduation: Austin Upright (Montoursville), Dave Miller (Pen Argyl), Curtis Taylor (Hummelstown) and Daciw.
Entering the championship series, Daneker had said, "It's been an exciting year. These guys are just absolutely unbelievable. They keep surprising you every day."
There was no surprise Saturday, however. They did what they knew they would.