Seasons End for Two Teams, Baseball Squad Gears Up for Playoffs
On April 26 at Keuka College, the Wildcats split, winning 3-2 and losing 3-1. In the first game, Noah Esposito, of Williamsport, went 3-for-4. In the second game, Penn College was limited to three singles.
Stepping out of the NEAC on Wednesday at home with Juniata College, Penn College won by scores of 4-0 and 4-3. Zach Weil, of Kutztown, went 2-for-3 with an RBI to pace the offense while four Wildcat pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout in the first game. In the second game, Penn College, trailing 3-1, pushed across three runs in the fifth inning for the win. Noah Esposito, of Williamsport, went 2-for-2 during the game with one run scored and one RBI.
After winning five of their previous six games, in their NEAC regular-season finale on Saturday the Wildcats lost at SUNY Poly by scores of 5-2 and 6-2 to end 7-7 in the conference – good enough for fourth and the final playoff spot – and 15-18 overall. In the opener, Cole Weachock, of Pottsville, had two hits. In the second game, Weachock and Weil each had two hits and drove in a run.
After Saturday’s games in the NEAC, Penn State Abington and SUNY Poly were 11-3, Penn State Berks was 9-5, Penn College 7-7, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible and Cazenovia all 5-9 and Gallaudet 3-11.
Postseason tournament seedings were to be announced Sunday. Play will be held Friday through Sunday.
Penn College started the week on an up note on April 26 as it took two games from division-leading SUNY Cobleskill by scores of 5-4 and 6-4. In the opener, Katie Kratzer, of Lynch Station, Virginia, went 3-for-3 with two runs batted in. In the nightcap, Nicole Lo Furno, of Glen Mills, went 2-for-2, including a double, with four RBIs.
A pair of wins over SUNY Poly on Monday, by scores of 7-2 and 7-3, put the Wildcats in a position for postseason play, pending the outcome of SUNY Poly’s doubleheader Tuesday against Keuka College. In its wins Monday, Kratzer drove in four runs – two in each game – and had doubles in each game. Arika Stopper, of Williamsport, was the winning pitcher in the first game, and Shelby Lyter, of Allensville, was the winning pitcher in the second contest, going the seven-innings distance and striking out seven while walking one.
On Tuesday, Penn College needed SUNY Poly to drop both of its games against Keuka College in order for the Wildcats to make the NEAC playoffs, but that didn’t happen and, after Wednesday’s nonconference games at Alfred State were canceled, Penn College closed out its season with records of 12-24 overall and 10-10 in the NEAC.
In the final NEAC North Division regular-season standings, SUNY Cobleskill and Keuka both were 15-5, SUNY Poly was 11-9, Penn College 10-10, Cazenovia 7-13 and Morrisville State 2-18.
“It just was a little bit too little, too late. There were a couple of games (during a stretch when the Wildcats lost 13 of 14 games) that we should have pulled off and had we pulled them off we would have been in the playoffs,” coach Roger Harris said.
“(Weather-wise) this season probably was one of the toughest ones I’ve had in the 14 years I’ve been here. We just could not get outside. I think that weighs on the girls,” the coach said.
Competing in the NEAC for the first time and facing all-NCAA Division III teams was a new experience for the Wildcats, but Harris was pleased with the outcome.
“I knew the team we had could step into the conference and play well and I knew we could give it a run for the playoffs, all of which we exceeded my expectations on,” Harris said.
“Going forward, we need to keep the pitching where we are (but) I think hitting-wise we could have been a little bit stronger so I think that is one thing we can work on. … (And) the errors that we gave up were all just routine. … But they are what cost games, the routine plays, the easy plays … just little things. When you play in Division III, the one that wins is the one that comes away with no errors or one error, or the timely hit,” the coach said.
Looking ahead, Harris will seek replacements for players who he calls the “heart and soul of his team,” including shortstop Macie Lucas, of Reedsville; catcher Jessica Gmerek, of Bellefonte; left fielder Kratzer; Stoppper; and second baseman Karey Wolfe, of Milton.
“I am very pleased and very proud of the girls, the way they stepped into this Division III. I don’t think they stepped in over their heads, I felt they earned respect and I truly believe that we should have been in the playoffs,” Harris added.
Kratzer, Lucas, Gmerek and Breanna Abbey, of Carlisle, were named to the NEAC North Division All-Conference second team.
On April 26 at the NEAC tournament at Birchwood Tennis Club in Clarks Summit, Melissa Stabley, of Cogan Station, dropped a 6-4, 6-4 decision in the finale at No. 1 singles and finished second, earning second team All-Conference honors. Stabley and Morgan Blackwell, of Beech Creek, also earned second team All-Conference honors in doubles.
“My women’s team definitely showed a big improvement. We went 2-5 in the conference and that was pretty big for us to get some wins, and we were playing very well right up to the end,” coach Robert Kemrer said.
Assessing the season overall, after competing in the NEAC for the first time, Kemrer said, “We’re going to have to adjust to the higher level of play. The competition is a little stronger than what we were used to. It’s going to take a little while to make some adjustments to step up to the next level.”
PENN COLLEGE SCHEDULES/RECORDS
Overall record: 15-18
NEAC record: 7-7
Sunday, April 26 – at Keuka College. W, 3-2; L, 3-1
Wednesday, April 29 – host Juniata College, W, 4-0; W, 4-3
Saturday, May 2 – at SUNY Poly, L, 5-2; L, 6-2
Friday-Sunday, May 8-10 – NEAC Tournament, TBA
Final overall record: 12-24
Final NEAC record: 10-10
Sunday, April 26 – at SUNY Cobleskill, W, 5-4; W, 6-4
Monday, April 27 – at SUNY Poly, W, 7-2; W, 7-3
Wednesday, April 29 – at Alfred State, canceled
Final overall record: 2-11
Final NEAC record: 2-5
Saturday-Sunday, April 25-26 – NEAC Tournament, Melissa Stabley finished second at No. 1 singles.
May 21-24 – at USIAC National Championships