Penn College baseball finishes top 6 in USCAA
Pennsylvania College of Technology’s baseball team went 2-2 and finished among the top six in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Small College World Series at Pullman Field in Butler. The Wildcats finished their season 24-17 overall, with the 24 wins setting a school single-season record.
“It was a great tournament all the way around. … We pitched good, we played some really good defense and we were just hitting the ball like crazy for most of the tournament. It was a fun time to be down there,” coach Chris Howard said.
It especially was satisfying, although perhaps a bit bittersweet, that PSUAC rival Penn State Greater Allegheny, seeded fifth, battled back through the elimination bracket in the national tournament after a first-game loss and forced the “if” game on Thursday before losing 6-3 to third-seeded University of Cincinnati-Clermont and finishing second.
A pair of two-run singles by James Simasek and Rantz Mahaffey helped the Wildcats to a 4-0 first-inning lead in their Monday opener against seventh-seeded Lindenwood-Belleville University. An RBI single by Zachary Weil put No. 10 seed Penn College ahead 5-2 in the second frame, but Lindenwood-Belleville came back with single runs in the third and fourth innings, three runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to pull out the win.
Battling back through the elimination bracket, the Wildcats rebounded Tuesday morning with a 2-1 win over sixth-seeded Southern Virginia University, a team it had lost to twice by one run each time when it opened the season in March. Craig Watson went the distance in hiking his season pitching record to 4-0, allowing just one run on seven hits, striking out three and walking three.
That set up a Tuesday night encounter with No. 2 seed Clark State Community College, of Springfield, Ohio, during which Penn College pulled off an 8-5 upset. Brian Santangelo went the distance on the mound, fanning seven, and Weil led the Wildcats’ offense with a home run, a two-run double and three runs batted in. Penn College out-hit Clark State, 13-7.
Facing fourth-seeded Selma (Ala.) University on Wednesday, the game was tied at 3-3 through four innings, but the Wildcats gave up two runs in the fifth and dropped a 5-4 heartbreaker to be eliminated. Penn College built an early 3-0 lead with one run in the first inning and two in the third. The Wildcats left seven runners on base.
During the week, five players were named to the USCAA All-Academic Team. The team, announced at the championships’ banquet, is comprised of players who have a 3.5 cumulative grade point average or higher and are academically a sophomore or above. Earning their way onto the team were juniors Cody and Zachary Buterbaugh and sophomores Hendershot; James Scully III and Zachary Yetter.
In addition, Weil, who hit .340 with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs and 35 RBIs, was named to the All-Tournament team.
Penn State University Athletic Conference All-Conference selections also were announced last week with Cody and Zachary Buterbaugh and Hendershot named to the first team and pitcher Joshua Longsderff to the second team. Players are selected based on voting by the conference coaches. In conference games, Hendershot hit at a .397 clip, Cody Buterbaugh at .358 and Zach Buterbaugh at .354. Longsderff had a 5-1 PSUAC pitching record. Overall, Zachary Buterbaugh led the team with a .369 batting average and Cody was second with a .362 mark. Hendershot hit .346 and topped the team with 37 RBIs and 14 doubles while Longsderff was 6-2 on the mound.
Yetter, Hendershot and Watson will graduate, but Howard said, “We’ve got a very good intact team coming back and we’re looking to add some good arms (pitchers) and players that we’ve been talking to throughout the year.
“One thing our run this season did, and especially at nationals, it showed everybody that we’re in the top echelon of the USCAA national teams. When you get that type of confidence and see that you can play with anybody out there, usually good things happen. All-in-all, it was a great year. It was nice to get a couple of wins in the national tournament to kind of catapult us on.”
SCHEDULES and RESULTS
Final overall record: 24-17
Final PSUAC record: 19-4 (16-2 regular season)
Monday – vs. Lindenwood-Belleview, Ill., in USCAA Small College World Series, L, 8-5
Tuesday – vs. Southern Virginia University in USCAA Small College World Series, W, 2-1
Tuesday – vs. Clark State Community College in USCAA Small College World Series, W, 8-5
Wednesday – vs. Selma University in USCAA Small College World Series, L, 5-4