By Steve Beard, LebCoSports Baseball Contributor
College Baseball gets even more serious now as teams make their closing arguments for a playoff spot. Most teams in this column control their own destiny, which perhaps makes it more dramatic.
Early in the week, a pair of local guys teamed up to lead their team to victory in a convincing fashion. We always endeavor to highlight each player even if they are teammates and we will do that later, but this one deserves special mention. Mason Kepler and Kasey Shugart put on a display of Palmyra Cougar power in a non-conference matchup with Lock Haven. Both players went 3 for 6 with 3 RBI, including each hitting a two run double as Clarion punished Lock Haven, 17-2. Clarion is out of playoff contention, but it’s apparent that these two guys—and every player you read about here–are playing hard through the end of the schedule. Being a collegiate student-athlete, no matter the sport, is no joke. We’re proud to talk about these guys here…
FEATURED PLAYER HIGHLIGHT
Gage Miller, Bishop State Community College (Palmyra ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Alabama Baseball commit Gage Miller lit up the Alabama Community College Conference this week in a four game set between BSCC and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. In a week with a ridiculous 6 for 12 with 9RBI, Miller dominated the series. He started early as he hit two home runs in game one, scoring three times and knocking in five (Box Score). The sophomore infielder looked a little more human in game two, going 1 for 4 with a run and an RBI in the only series loss (Box Score). Miller walked, hit two sac flies, plating two runs in the closest game of the series (Box Score). He padded his average with a 3 for 5 game in the finale (Box Score). Five runs, six hits, nine RBI in fifteen plate appearances has Miller at a .371 batting average with five bombs, thirty nine driven in, and a .638 slugging percentage. Bishop State is second in the South Division of the ACCC (ACCC Standings). Miller collected his one hundredth college hit this week. (And for the record, Lurleen Wallace was the 46th Governor of Alabama and the first wife of erstwhile Presidential candidate George Wallace).
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
Amani Jones, Stevenson University (Cedar Crest ’20) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Junior SS Amani Jones walked twice and scored once in a non-conference mid-week matchup with Lancaster Bible College and the Mustangs downed LBC, 10-8 (Box Score). Stevenson was swept by Alvernia in a critical conference series for both teams, but it was not for lack of production by Amani Jones. His eighth inning RBI in a three hit performance in game one was not quite enough as Alvernia prevailed 6-4 (Box Score). He followed up in game two with two hits and two RBI, including an RBI groundout in the first and RBI single in the fifth, but Alvernia scored three runs late to win 6-5 (Box Score). His bat was quiet in game three with a walk and a run in a 10-8 loss (Box Score). At 10-11 in conference, Stevenson needs to sweep Eastern (5-16) and needs Hood (10-11) to take at least two of three from Messiah (12-9) to finish in fourth or fifth as York and Widener (both 13-8) hold season series tie breakers over Stevenson (MAC Commonwealth Standings).
Jacob Deimling, York College of Pennsylvania (Palmyra ’22) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
After a quiet game against #18 Rowan (Box Score) and another against Lebanon Valley College (Box Score), freshman outfielder Jacob Deimling had two solid outings in a week that saw York beat Rowan and get swept by LVC. Down 2-0 in the seventh, Deimling hit an RBI double for the Spartans who fell in that game by a score of 2-1 (Box Score). He then provided half of York’s runs with a 2 for 3 day with two RBI as LVC completed the sweep 6-4 (Box Score). LVC and Alvernia have clinched playoff spots and will settle the top seeding this coming weekend with a three game set. York and Widener are tied at 13-8 and will face off this weekend with each team needing only one win of the three games to secure a playoff spot. If York sweeps, they could finish as high as the two seed if LVC sweeps Alvernia (MAC Commonwealth Standings).
Jonathan LaBarbera, Bloomsburg University of PA (Cedar Crest ’20) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Bloomsburg had a one game week, and Jon LaBarbera made the most of it during a 9-4 win over Chestnut Hill (Box Score). The junior infielder scored early and hit a two run home run late to put the Huskies up by seven, enroute to a 2 for 3 day with two runs, two RBI, and two walks. Bloomsburg, and Kutztown continue to battle for the fourth and final spot in the playoff tournament, with West Chester just ahead of them in third (PSAC Standings).
Tyler Long, Mount Saint Mary’s University, (Annville-Cleona ’20) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Junior SS Tyler Long contributed five hits in fifteen at bats and added a walk and a stolen base as The Mount lost two Georgetown and then took two of three from University of MD – Eastern Shore (UMES). Despite getting pounded by the Hoyas 19-4, Long was 1 for 2 with a double and a walk (Box Score). Long was 2 for 4 with a stolen base in game one against UMES (Box Score) and 1 for 4 with a run in the second game (Box Score). In the finale, won by UMES, Long was 1 for 5 (Box Score). He continues to hit at a .323 clip on the season. MSM is now in the sixth and final playoff spot Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (Standings) with three conference series remaining.
Christian Kreiser, Stevens Institute of Technology (Palmyra ’20) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Junior Christian Kreiser added another solid week to his season stats. On Tuesday versus Wesleyan University, Kreiser’s front end of a double steal allowed a run to score and he added two hits and two runs as Stevens scorched Wesleyan, 11-1 (Box Score). The Ducks then took two of three from conference foe Lycoming College. Kreiser’s sac fly in game one put Stevens up 4-2 in the 5th, but Lycoming rallied with a home run and won game one of the series, 5-4 (Box Score). Thanks in part to Kreiser’s sac fly, rbi single and two runs scored, Stevens bounced back with a 7-1 win in game two (Box Score). Kreiser’s bat was quiet in a game three 4-3 win (Box Score), but he remains atop the Ducks’ stat lines, including a .400 batting average. Stevens has clinched a spot in the MAC – Freedom playoffs (MAC Freedom Standings).
Kyle Poorman, Rochester Institute of Technology, (Cedar Crest ’19) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Senior catcher Kyle Poorman followed up a quiet day at the plate on Saturday versus Hobart (Box Score) with a productive Sunday. In addition to a walk in the series finale (Box Score), the Cedar Crest product was 2 for 3 with three runs, a walk, and an RBI triple to help seal a 15-4 win over Hobart (Box Score). RIT currently sits in second in the Liberty League West at 8-2 (15-12 overall) (Liberty League Standings). During weekend of May 6, the top four seeds in each Liberty League division will play a crossover division best-of-three (#1 East hosts #4 West, #2 East hosts #3 West, etc) to determine the final four for a double elimination tournament on May 11-13 (Liberty League Championship Rules).
Mason Kepler, Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Palmyra ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Mason Kepler helped put a beat down on Lock Haven, with a 3 for 6 day with three runs, three RBI, and a pair of doubles (Box Score). Clarion hosted Gannon in PSAC – West conference play and Kepler was 1 for 2 with a walk in game one (Box Score) and 0 for 3 in game two (Box Score). Clarion traveled to Erie to finish the series with Kepler knocking in two more with a double in game three (Box Score) before going hitless in game four (Box Score).
Kasey Shugart, Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Palmyra ’20) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Kasey Shugart’s contribution to the Lock Haven rout was close to Kepler’s, 3 for 6 with three RBI and a two run double in the fifth (Box Score). He was 1 for 2 in game one with Gannon (Box Score), adding a sac bunt and had the same line in game three, adding a walk (Box Score). Shugart’s bat was quiet in game two (Box Score) with one hit in four at bats and he was hitless in game four (Box Score). Seton Hill and Mercyhurst are in control of the PSAC – West (PSAC – West Standings).
Austin Baal, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (Palmyra ’19) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Shippensburg picked up two critical conference wins this week, but they will need help, even with a sweep of Mansfield next week, as twelve wins likely won’t be enough to finish inside the top four of their conference. The junior first baseman from Palmyra only had one hit in a mid-week game against Pitt – Johnstown, but it was a big one, as he crushed a three run home run (video) and added a sac fly in a 17-7 non-conference win (Box Score). Over the weekend with Kutztown, Baal had two hits, three runs, and an RBI (Box Score 1) (Box Score 2) (Box Score 3). At 9-12 in conference, Ship needs three wins and some help (PSAC Standings).
Deklyn Marks, Albright College (Cedar Crest ’22) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
In a week that saw him collect seven hits in eighteen at bats, the freshman second baseman raised his batting average to .300 this week. Despite a slow start in a 10-5 mid-week win against Penn State – Berks (Box Score), Marks made contributions in three conference losses to Widener. In Friday game one, Marks laced an RBI double, but the Lions were already down by a dozen in a 16—3 loss (Box Score). Albright (6-28 overall, 2-22 conference) was more competitive on Saturday, with Marks going 2 for 4 with a run and RBI in a four run loss (Box Score). The Pride and the Lions finished the doubleheader before the rains came, with Marks hitting 1 for 3 in a 14-7 loss (Box Score). Albright finishes up with non-conference games against Marywood, ETown, Lycoming, and Clarks Summit.
Thomas Zeigler, Messiah University (Palmyra ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Sophomore outfielder Thomas Zeigler had a walk and a sac fly as Messiah fell mid-week to Penn State – Mont Alto 5-3 (Box Score). He entered late as a substitute in a dramatic win over Drew, as classmate Evan Wagaman hit a two out walk-off grand slam (Video) to put Messiah over the top, 8-7 (Box Score). Messiah cannot afford any missteps in their conference series finale with Hood as they look for a top five spot for playoffs—but a sweep of Hood and a sweep by Widener over York or York over Widener could launch Messiah from fifth to second or third. The four and five seed will play a one game “play in” for the opportunity to face powerhouse LVC in the Commonwealth Division, so a middle seed is clearly preferable (MAC Commonwealth Standings).
Jake Wagner, Pennsylvania College of Technology (Palmyra ‘19) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Following a 1 for 5 game with two runs and sac bunt in a 16-12 loss to Juniata (Box Score), Jake Wagner met a familiar face in former teammate Brian Coburn. Wagner was one of the few to get a hit or walk off Coburn in a 1-0 win for Lancaster Bible College (Box Score). Wagner expressed his apparent displeasure with that result in game two of the series, hitting three doubles and knocking in three runs on a 4 for 5 performance to lead PCT to a 13-6 win (Box Score). Wagner added a walk, three runs and a hit in the finale, a 12-3 rout of LBC. (Box Score). PCT currently sits in second in the United East (United East Conference Standings).
Gavin Neal, Mercer County Community College, (Palmyra ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Sophomore infielder Gavin Neal had a nice week in JuCo action. In a 16-1 drubbing of Bucks County CC, Neal was 1 for 3 with a walk (Box Score). He was one of the only bright spots with three of his team’s seven hits as NJCAA D3 #2 Rowan College of South Jersey – Gloucester crushed Mercer 13-3 (Box Score). Neal’s Saturday doubleheader was spectacular as he was 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBI and a walk in game one (Box Score). While only notching one hit in game two, it was a big one as he hit a two run home run (video) in a tight 4-3 loss to Sussex (Box Score). Mercer is 10-5 in conference (21-18 overall) (Region 19 Standings).
Noah Gonzalez, Northampton Community College (Cedar Crest ’22) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Noah Gonzalez appeared for NCC in a lost to Rowan College of South Jersey – Cumberland as a pinch hitter. (Box Score)
Brian Coburn, Lancaster Bible College, (Palmyra ’20) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Brian Coburn’s week started off a bit slow with a hitless day in a win against PSU – Berks (Box Score), however that didn’t last long. In a non-conference tilt with Stevenson, Coburn was 2 for 3 with a run, an RBI, and a sac fly as the Chargers fell to the Mustangs (Box Score). The junior two-way was spectacular on Friday in a United East Conference series opener against Penn College of Technology. In addition to stealing second on the front half of a double steal to score the only run for LBC, Coburn was the winning pitcher throwing a complete game, scattering seven hits in a 1-0 triumph (Box Score). Coburn had a walk in the second game of the set and was 1 for 3 with an RBI and two walks in the finale (Box Score). LBC currently sits fourth in the United East (United East Conference Standings).
ON THE MOUND
Jeremy Eck, Mount Aloysius College, (ELCO ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Sophomore Jeremy Eck picked up his second win in his second career start, allowing one run on five hits in four innings as the Mounties knocked off Pitt-Greensburg 8-5 (Box Score). His consecutive string of outstanding outings was curtailed as he returned on only one day of rest after throwing 55 pitches against Greensburg. He was touched up for five hits and four runs and dropped to 2-2 on the season in a 11-1 loss to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference leader Alfred State (Box Score). Mount Aloysius appears to be in good shape to lock into a top six spot, as the AMCC conference pits 3v6 and 4v5 in round one with the top two seeds getting the bye into the double elimination finals (AMCC Standings) (AMCC Championship Rules).
Dakota Smith, Frederick Community College (ELCO ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Dakota Smith continued his winning ways, moving to 5-2 on the season. Smith threw five scoreless innings, scattering three hits and three walks, striking out six as FCC defeated Garratt College 6-0 (Box Score). As we detailed a few weeks ago, Smith is returning from an arm injury that kept him out of competition last year. He currently leads FCC in innings pitched, appearances, games started, and strikeouts.
Isaac Wengert, West Virginia Tech (Northern Lebanon ’16) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Isaac Wengert took the loss for WVU Tech as they fell 6-5 to Rio Grande (Box Score). WVU Tech is 9-15 in Conference and 17-28 overall (River States Conference Standings).
Dalton Reinhart, Mercer County Community College, (Cedar Crest ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Sophomore lefty Dalton Reinhart took the loss for Mercer against NJCAA D3 #2 Rowan College of South Jersey – Gloucester in a Region 19 division crossover game (Box Score).
Cameron Dubbs, Penn State Altoona, (Palmyra ’20) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Cameron Dubbs pitched two shut out innings for PSU – Altoona enroute to a 10-5 mid-week game win over LaRoche (Box Score). Altoona finds itself on brink of qualifying for playoffs in the sixth spot as the AMCC conference pits 3v6 and 4v5 in round one with the top two seeds getting the bye into the double elimination finals (AMCC Standings) (AMCC Championship Rules).
Austin Beard, Northampton Community College (Cedar Crest ’22) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Freshman RHP Austin Beard worked a scoreless ninth to close NCC’s win over D2 Lehigh-Carbon Community College on a blustery Tuesday in Schnecksville (Video). Beard worked around a couple of weak contact grounders, two infield errors and one hit in a 13-9 win (Box Score). Beard allowed two earned runs against RCSJ- Cumberland in a weekend that saw Cumberland score 33 runs in three games (Box Score). NCC remains in the top 15 nationally (NJCAA D3 Week 7 Rankings) with eight conference games in Region 19 (Region 19 Standings).
Caleb Fisher, Chesapeake College (Palmyra ’22) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Caleb Fisher started his first game in college against Prince George County CC. He was a “no decision” throwing 3.2 innings and striking out six, allowing four earned runs (Box Score). Fisher has made the second most appearances for a freshman at Chesapeake (6-14 in Conference, 12-24 overall).
The following players appear on collegiate rosters but did not see action this week due to injury (*) or other reasons.
Luke Hostetter, California University of Pennsylvania (Cedar Crest ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Jacob Mills, Lancaster Bible College, (Annville-Cleona ’22) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Dylan Beard, (*) Messiah University (Cedar Crest ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Riley Blatt, Penn State-Harrisburg (ELCO ’21) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Braden Collazo, Penn State-Harrisburg (Lebanon High School ’22) Season Stats Upcoming Schedule
Click to access last week’s LebCo College Baseball Prospect Tracker
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