Seniors dominate Penn College baseball team

Published 02.19.2023

Wildcat Weekly

As the Pennsylvania College of Technology baseball team prepares to take the field later this week, the men’s basketball team closed out its season, the women’s basketball and wrestling teams are headed for the postseason, and the men’s lacrosse team opened its campaign with a win.

At the end of last season, which concluded with a 21-18 overall record, fifth straight postseason appearance and a third-place finish in the United East Conference, coach Chris Howard already was expressing excitement about this season based on the players he expected to return.

And over the last nine months, nothing has dampened the 17th-year coach’s enthusiasm.

“We are a senior-heavy team that will be looked to for leadership on and off the field. We have a strong offensive team returning, but our pitching will determine how far we go this year. Players have been working really hard with (assistant) coach Devon Sanders to have the stamina for the long season ahead. I like our defense and the confidence that they play with,” Howard said.

The Wildcats open their 39-game regular season on Saturday with a twin bill at Stockton University.

“Our entire lineup from last year is returning,” Howard said. “(They are seniors) left fielder Jacob Carles, of Bernville; centerfielder Jake Wagner, of Palmyra; third baseman Cameron Dick, of Dillsburg; shortstop Brian Robison, of Quakertown; second baseman Keegan Nytz, of Allentown; first baseman Tyler Rudolph, of Hemlock, New York; designated hitter Shane Price, of Kersey; and (sophomore) catcher Nathan Gustkey, of Philipsburg.”

A year ago, Carles was named to the United East first team, while Dick and Price were named to the second team. After the season ended, Carles was named to the All-Region 4 third team.

Howard said, “Right field will be a battle among three returners, sophomores Tristen Current, of Reinholds, and Kevin Cute, of Glenside, and senior Kolt Smith, of Millville.

“On the mound we will get senior Justin Porter, of Fairless Hills, back after sitting out almost all of last year with an injury. Senior Cole Culver, of Titusville; senior Ben Bretzman, of Bendersville; junior Chance Webb, of Hughesville; and sophomore Zac Weaver, of Pottstown, will all see time as starters while returners senior Andrew Snyder, of Whitehall; and sophomores Gabe Reptsik, of Pennsburg; Zach Ellis, of Gilbertsville; and Brock Moyer, of Williamsport, will be coming out of the bullpen and are key to our success this year. We will also anxiously await the return of junior Jason Cute, of Glenside, who is coming back from an injury.”

Key incoming players include freshman Jonas McGrath, of Ashland, and sophomore transfer Chase Hoffman, of Milton, who are expected to be big contributors on the mound, while Lackawanna College sophomore transfer Quinn Hanafin, of Sayre, a second-team National Junior College Athletic Association Division II All-American who hit .492 (second-best in the division) “will be looked upon to help bolster our offense,” Howard said.

According to the coach, “freshman Logan Hinnershitz, of Quakertown, will see a lot of time behind the plate and will give us an outstanding catching corps (Hinnershitz, Gustkey and sophomore Matt Bailor, of Clearfield), while freshman David Wagner, of Perkiomenville, has impressed with his play in the outfield and his hitting and will be a great asset to an already deep outfield, and freshman Parker White, of West Decatur, has really opened some eyes with his play at shortstop and has a bright future with the Wildcats.

“Also, freshmen second baseman Benny Hornburg, of Pittsburgh, and first baseman Charlie Hornburg, of Pittsburgh, have been rock-solid all year and will be outstanding players for our program.”

The Cutes are brothers and the Hornburgs are twins.

“Practice has been very productive so far since we started up at the end of January. We have been able to get outside more times this preseason than we have been able to the last four years combined,” Howard said. “We are hoping that being outside sooner will translate into being more prepared for the beginning of the season.

“We have a lot of depth. I am not afraid to put anyone in the game because I have the confidence in them that they can do the job. It’s (depth) a great problem to have, but it also requires the players to accept their role on the team. A quote I use often is, ‘winning is a result of everyone giving 100% of themselves to their role on the team.’ It’s not always easy to do but I feel like we have 35 guys who have bought into that.

“We are constantly working every day to improve every part of our game. I don’t think there has ever been a season as a coach or a player where I didn’t think that improvement was needed in everything that we do on the field. I think it’s important that we try to improve each and every day, even if it’s a little bit, in all areas of our life.”

The key to success, Howard said, is to “focus on the work that we need to do to make us a better team each day. Growth over results. Team success will follow and the byproduct of team success is individual success. As long as we are focused on team, everything else will fall into place.”

In the United East, Howard said, “(Penn State) Harrisburg and Abington will be the teams that everyone is chasing again this year. Our conference is getting more competitive every year. The UE is becoming a solid baseball conference and you have to be prepared to play at your best every series.

“Our goal is the same this year as it is every year – put ourselves in a position to play for a conference championship. We are going to give it our best shot again this year. The guys are motivated and I’m looking forward to the ’23 season.”

Men’s basketball
Penn College dropped a 70-62 decision at Penn State Harrisburg in men’s basketball action on Tuesday.

Gavin Barrett, of Roselle, New Jersey, ended with a game-high 24 points for Penn College and he led the team with nine rebounds.

Closing out its season at Penn State Berks on Friday, Penn College scored a 91-90 overtime UE win. The Wildcats finish 5-11 in the conference and 10-15 overall, with the conference win total matching its total for each of the past three seasons and the overall win total a single-season high during coach Geoff Hensley’s four seasons at the helm.

With the scored tied at 81 after regulation, Barrett had two layups and a 3-pointer and Max Jackowsky, of Garnet Valley, added a trey as Penn College outscored the Nittany Lions 10-9 in the OT to pick up the “W” and sweep the season series, 2-0.

Barrett finished with 32 points, a personal season high, while Keon Evans, of Philadelphia, scored 19 and Will Sulesky, of Huntingdon, had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Final UE standings: Lancaster Bible College, 15-1; Penn State Harrisburg, 12-4; Penn State Abington, 11-5; Wells College, 10-7; SUNY Morrisville, 7-9; St. Mary’s (Md.) College, 7-9; Penn College, 5-11; Penn State Berks, 5-11; Gallaudet University, 1-15.

Women’s basketball
Hitting nine of its first 14 shots, Penn College saw its 18-10 first-quarter lead slip away Tuesday in a 59-43 UE loss at Penn State Harrisburg.

Lexi Troup, of Huntingdon, led the Wildcats with nine points.

Wrapping up the regular season on Friday at Penn State Berks, Penn College outscored Berks in every quarter en route to a 63-48 win to improve to 9-7 in the UE and 10-15 overall and clinch its first NCAA era postseason playoff berth. In their third season under coach Britni Mohney, the nine conference wins and 10 overall wins are the most for a Wildcat team since the 2014-15 season.

Rachael Teats, of Middleburg, and Lexi Troup each scored 11 points for Penn College.

Final UE standings: SUNY Morrisville, 14-2; Penn State Harrisburg, 13-3; St. Mary’s (Md.) College, 13-3; Penn College, 9-7; Lancaster Bible College, 9-7; Gallaudet University, 7-9; Penn State Abington, 5-11; Penn State Berks, 2-14; Wells College, 0-16.

Subdued lighting centers the action on the mat during Friday's final home match of the regular season. (Photo by Frank T. Kocsis III, student photographer)Wrestling
The Wildcats ended an 11-10 dual-match season on Friday with a 27-21 home loss to Scranton. The 11 wins are their second-most in the college’s NCAA era and first winning season since 2012-13.

Noah Hunt, of Muncy, at 149 pounds; Mason Leshock, of Shamokin, at 165; and Isaac Cory, of Montoursville, at 184, all had pins for Penn College.

Five Penn College wrestlers competed on Sunday in the Mideast Futures Tournament, which, according to first-year coach Pankil Chander, “is a tournament designed for younger/lowerclassmen on all teams to compete and get some matches to conclude their season or help them gain

For the Wildcats, CJ Trimber, of Moon Township, went 2-2 at 133 pounds; Brett Patton, of West Chester, went 1-2 at 149; Anton Esterbrook, of Wyomissing, went 0-2 at 157; Zach Miller, of Lock Haven, went 1-2 at 165; and Billy Bumbarger, of Morrisdale, went 1-2 at 285.

Men’s lacrosse
Sam Hills, of Maynard, Massachusetts, scored five goals and had three assists, while Camden Elmo, of Hanover, and Brendan Kuczma, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, each added three goals in a season-opening 14-8 nonconference win over FDU-Florham on Saturday.

Men’s basketball
Final overall: 10-15
Final UE: 5-11
Tuesday, Feb. 14 – at Penn State Harrisburg (UE), L, 70-62
Friday, Feb. 17 – at Penn State Berks (UE), W, 91-90 OT
(End of season)

Women’s basketball
Overall: 10-15
UE: 9-7
Tuesday, Feb. 14 – at Penn State Harrisburg (UE), L, 59-43
Friday, Feb. 17 – at Penn State Berks (UE), W, 63-48
Friday, Feb. 24 – United East Semifinals at SUNY Morrisville, Penn College vs. SUNY Morrisville, 5 p.m.; Penn State Harrisburg vs. St. Mary’s (Md.) College, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 – Championship at SUNY Morrisville, Friday winners play at 4 p.m.

Final overall: 11-10
Friday, Feb. 17 – host Scranton, L, 27-21
Sunday, Feb. 19 – Mideast Futures Tournament at Muhlenberg College, 10 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 24 – NCAA Division III Mideast Regional at Ithaca College, 11 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 – NCAA Division III Mideast Regional at Ithaca College, 11 a.m.

Men’s lacrosse
Overall: 1-0
UE: 0-0
Saturday, Feb. 18 – at FDU-Florham, W, 14-8
Wednesday, Feb. 22 – host Marywood University, 4 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 – host Albright College, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, March 1 – at Juniata College, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 25 – at Stockton University (2), noon
The Ripken Experience, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sunday, March 5 – vs. Hilbert College, TBA
Monday, March 6 – vs. Rivier University, TBA

Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic, North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Monday, March 6 – vs. Medaille College, 11 a.m.
Monday, March 6 – vs. Gettysburg College, 5 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 13 – CIL Cup Series–Richmond, 18 and 27 of 39
Wednesday, Feb. 15 – CIL Short Track Showdown-Lanier Speedway, 3 of 18
Monday, Feb. 20 – CIL Cup Series-Watkins Glen, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 21 – CIL Formula College World Championship-Tsukuba Circuit, 8 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 27 – CIL Cup Series-Darlington, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, March 1 – CIL Short Track Showdown-South Boston Speedway, 8 p.m.

NACE Rocket League Varsity
Record: 0-2
Monday, Feb. 13 – vs. Southeastern University, L, 3-2 (0-6, 1-2, 3-2, 2-1, 0-1)
Monday, Feb. 27 – vs. Michigan Technological University, 7 p.m.
Monday, March 6 – vs. St. Lawrence University, 7 p.m.

NACE Overwatch 2
Record: 0-2
Tuesday, Feb. 14 – vs. West Texas A&M, L, 3-0 (0-2, 1-2, 0-1)
Tuesday, Feb. 21 – vs. Drexel University, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 28 – vs. Ozarks Technical Community College, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 – vs. North Carolina, 7 p.m.

NACE Valorant
Record: 0-2
Wednesday, Feb. 15 – vs. George Mason, L, 2-1 (13-10, 12-14, 8-14)
Wednesday, Feb. 22 – vs. Western Kentucky University, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 1 – vs. Keiser University-Pembroke Pines, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 8 – vs. Cornell College, 7 p.m.

For more about the United East, visit the conference website.

For additional information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 27-A