Penn College Baseball Team Eliminated at Nationals
HAMPTON, Va. Pennsylvania College of Technology's baseball season ended after just three games in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships and coach Chris Howard said his team never found its stride.
"We just didn't play well. The last three games we just couldn't get over the hump. We played bad for three games. We won one, but we didn't play a solid game," Howard said after his Wildcats were eliminated Wednesday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium following a 7-0 loss to Columbia Union College of Takoma Park, Md.
"We couldn't seem to get our offense going. It wasn't like we were facing overpowering pitching. We just couldn't get any back-to-back hits, and errors (four against Columbia Union and eight in the tournament) just killed us," Howard continued.
"I said before we left (Williamsport) that the team that catches the ball and throws the ball is the one that wins these games," the coach said. "We did not do either of those."
Penn College, seeded third in the tournament, ends its season with a 36-9 record.
The loss marked the final game for six seniors on the squad Christian Worth (Williamsport), Phil Woodring (Waynesboro), Devon Liquori (Hawley), Joe Vassallo (Windsor, Conn.), Matt Mientus (Macungie) and James Craft (York). Liquori had three of the team's five hits against Columbia Union. Earlier Wednesday, in a 7-4 win over Penn State Greater Allegheny, he hit a two-run home run. He also had a two-run homer in Tuesday's opening 12-5 loss to Briarcliffe (N.Y.) College.
"They were with me three years ago when I started (coaching) and they were the nucleus of the team. I told them I had the most fun of my life the last three years coaching these guys. I wish we could have gone out better, but, just because we had a couple of bad days here, I don't want it to take away from the good season that we did have and the things we did accomplish (winning a second consecutive Penn State University Athletic Conference crown)," Howard continued. Over those three years, Wildcat teams won89 games and lost just 33.
Reflecting on his club's first national experience, Howard said, "We certainly belong here. We just didn't play well. We certainly have a future in this league. We'll just use this as a learning experience. I think it's going to help the younger guys coming back know what we have to do."