By Steve Beard, LebCoSports Baseball Contributor
Rain wreaked havoc on this week of baseball, but much of the playoff picture was cleared up at the D3 level. Lebanon Valley College grabbed the top seed in the MAC – Commonwealth while Lebanon County players from Messiah and York qualified for playoffs. Still more players from the MAC – Freedom (Stevens) and United East (Penn State-Harrisburg, Penn College of Technology, Lancaster Bible College) and Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (Mount Aloysius) and Liberty League (Rochester Institute of Technology) and the Alabama Community College Conference (Bishop State) punched a ticket to the playoffs.
JuCo Bandits from Northampton, Mercer, Chesapeake, and Frederick join the D2 PSAC players (Bloomsburg, Clarion, Shippensburg) and D1 MAAC (Mount Saint Mary’s) in waiting a little longer to figure out the post-season landscape.
In addition to performing in the playoffs, all of these guys are worried about final exams, moving out of dorms/apartments, summer baseball commitments, internships or maybe even commencement and finding a post-graduate job. The grind, as they say, never stops.
FEATURED PLAYER HIGHLIGHT
Senior Jake Wagner’s week started off with a 1 for 4 game one and a hit by pitch RBI in game two as PCT split with PSU – Altoona (Box Score 1) (Box Score 2). Following a quiet game in a loss to PSU – Berks (Box Score), Wagner was in the middle of everything in a 15-4 pounding of Berks. Wagner led off the game with a double and scored. He doubled again in the second and was stranded. He plated a run and reached on an error in the nine run fourth inning and followed it up with a two RBI single in the 8th, finishing the game 3 for 6 with two runs and three RBI (Box Score). As of publication time, the United East Conference tournament was not posted, but PCT appears to be the 2 seed for the event (United East Conference Standings).
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
Despite a 2 for 4 day and an RBI from their senior catcher, RIT fell to Rochester, 9-3 (Box Score). Poorman’s bat was hot again in game one of a Saturday doubleheader, with a 3 for 3 day and an RBI in a game one loss (Box Score). He was 1 for 3 in game two, a 7-6 win (Box Score). Poorman finished the regular season with a .306 batting average as he helped lead RIT to the two seed in his division (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).
Junior infielder Jon LaBarbera took a couple for the team, being hit by pitch twice against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but more than returned the favor. LaBarbera was 2 for 3 with a key RBI double and scored three times as the Huskies knocked off the Crimson Hawks, 10-8 (Box Score). Bloom defeated Mansfield 10-3 in a game that saw LaBarbera collect a hit and score a run (Box Score). LaBarbera’s solo home run was half the offense in a 2-1 win over Mansfield in game one on Saturday (Box Score). He was also hit by a pitch. In game two, the Cedar Crest grad was hitless as Mansfield squelched the Bloomsburg sweep. Bloom faces #7 Millersville in the final weekend to battle for the fourth and final playoff spot with Kutztown, as they face West Chester (PSAC Standings).
Stevenson made schedule adjustments due to the weather forecast and moved their non-conference schedule up in the week. Jones had a quiet day as #17 Catholic University routed the Mustangs, 16-3 (Box Score). Jones rebounded with a 2 for 4 effort as Stevenson defeated Gettysburg, 7-3 (Box Score). Stevenson and Eastern did not move their final series up to Wednesday/Thursday like many MAC teams and the Mustangs were eliminated from playoff contention when Messiah took two of three from Hood (MAC Commonwealth Standings). Eastern and Stevenson postponed the weekend doubleheader and will play their series on May 1-2 to end the season.
Freshman outfielder Jacob Deimling was 2 for 5 on Thursday, as York and Widener played a doubleheader in a series that determines the 3 seed and the 5 seed on account of Messiah failing to sweep Hood. Deimling was 0 for 2 in a 10-0 loss in game one (Box Score) and was 2 for 3 in a 1-0 game two win (Box Score). York and Widener were unable to finish their series and will finish it early in the week of May 1 to determine seeding. The loser plays at Messiah in the play in game (Thursday, May 4) and the winner faces Alvernia next weekend in the 2v3 series.
Junior SS Tyler Long was one of the few offensive bright spots for the Mount as his RBI single was the only run as they fell to George Mason, 3-1 (Box Score). MSM travelled to Hampden, CT for a three game set with Quinnipac. In a Friday split with Quinnipac, Long was 3 for 6 with 2 RBI in a game one loss (Box Score) and 2 for 5 with a 2RBI single and a double as The Mount prevailed 7-6 (Box Score). Long was hitless on Sunday. The Mount continues regular season play through May 20, 2023 and currently sit seventh in the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Standings).
The Ducks finished their non-conference schedule and junior OF Christian Kreiser added to his impressive season with a 2 for 5 with an RBI, a run, and a stolen base in am 8-6 win over New Jersey City University (Box Score). Stevens had unfinished business with DeSales, as they needed to win one of three to determine who was the three seed and who was the fourth seed, the latter having to play a 4v5 single elimination play in. In a doubleheader sweep by DeSales on Thursday, Kreiser had a hit and a stolen base as Desales won 3-2 (Box Score) and 5-0 (Box Score), setting up a true rubber match for the three seed. (Why is the deciding game of a series called a rubber match? Glad you asked—you can read more about it HERE.) DeSales won in convincing fashion, 10-2 (Box Score), relegating Stevens to the 4v5 play in game tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 2. (MAC Freedom Standings).
Sophomore C Mason Kepler entered as a substitute and was 0 for 1 with a walk and run scored as Clarion defeated Penn State – Dubois, 16-12 (Box Score). Kepler was hitless in game two of a double header against Slippery Rock (Box Score). Kepler was hitless in a double header on Saturday (Box Score 1) (Box Score 2). Clarion finishes up this coming weekend with California University of PA.
Kasey Shugart was 1 for 4 with a run scored against Penn State – Dubois as Clarion rallied from behind three times to knock off PSU – Dubois (Box Score). Shugart was hitless in game one (Box Score) and 1 for 4 in game two (Box Score) against Slippery Rock on Friday and had a hit over two games on Saturday (Box Score 1) (Box Score 2).
In a short two game week due to rain, Baal was 0 for 2 with a walk in game one (Box Score) and 2 for 4 with a run and a walk in game two (Box Score) of a doubleheader non-conference sweep of Mercy. Ship finishes up with Mansfield May 4-5, 2023 and appear to be mathematically eliminated from playoffs (PSAC Standings). Baal remains tied for the PSAC lead in HR with eleven (PSAC Stats).
Freshman Deklyn Marks added to his solid first season with a 2 for 6 day, including an RBI single to give Albright a lead they never relinquished enroute to a 8-7 win over Marywood (Box Score). And despite Albright getting pounded by ETown 20-7, Marks added three hits in five at bats for the Lions (Box Score). Marks was 1 for 5 in game one versus Lycoming (Box Score), but games two and three were rained out. Albright finishes against Clarks Summit on Monday, May 1 to end a solid freshman campaign for Marks.
The Messiah Falcons playoff hopes were dimmed in a walk off win by Hood, as Zeigler walked once and scored in a 5-4 loss (Box Score). However, a doubleheader sweep secured the four seed for Messiah and they will host the winner of the final game of York and Widener in a 4v5 play in game, now scheduled for Thursday, May 4, 2023 at Starry Field in Grantham, PA. (MAC Commonwealth Standings).
Brian Coburn had a busy day at the plate in a slug fest, as he went 2 for 5 with three runs scored, an RBI, a walk, and three stolen bases as LBC defeated Rosemont 23-18 (Box Score). And although he’s not a Lebanon County kid, check out James Toney’s eye popping day: 5 for 6, five runs, ten RBI (yes, 10) and four home runs (one grand slam, a three run shot, and two solo jobs). Coburn was 1 for 3 in a Wednesday loss to Cairn (Box Score).
ON THE MOUND
Senior Isaac Wengert pitched one third of an inning to close out WVU Tech’s 11-5 win over Ohio Christian (Box Score). Despite a shoulder impingement and associated pain, Wengert indicated that he was determined to finish his senior season and appear on the mound as needed to help his team. Wengert intends to be the pitching coach for the New Market Rebels in The Valley League (League Website).
Sophomore RHP allowed one unearned run in relief as the Mounties defeated La Roche, 13-8 (Box Score). Eck picked up his third win of the season, throwing seven innings of three hit three run ball as Mt. Aloysius defeated Hilbert under the lights, 11-7 (Box Score), vaulting them over Hilbert into third place in the AMCC (AMCC Standings).
Sophomore RHP Riley Blatt pitched a scoreless inning in relief as PSU – Harrisburg defeated PSU – Abington, 10-2 (Box Score), further solidifying their top spot in the United East (United East Conference Standings).
Freshman LHP pitched 2/3 of an inning to close out PSU-Harrisburg’s 11-5 win over PSU – Abington (Box Score).
ELCO product Dakota Smith picked up the win for FCC as they defeated CCBC Catonsville 10-8 (Box Score). Frederick is in control in their division and their region as Smith moved to 6-2 on the season (Region 20 Standings).
Dalton Reinhart pitched a scoreless ninth as Mercer fell to NJCAA-D3 #2 ranked Rowan College of South Jersey – Gloucester, 23-9 (Box Score).
Despite a four strikeout, two hit, two inning outing, Cameron Dubbs was tagged with the loss as he gave up one run and PCT beat Altoona 10-8 (Box Score). Dubbs threw two scoreless on Saturday in a no decision as Penn State – Behrend defeated Altoona in the backend of a doubleheader sweep, 9-7 (Box Score). As of press time, Altoona was still not locked into a playoff spot, as Pitt-Bradford and Pitt-Johnstown will play early in the week to determine 5-6-7(AMCC Standings).
Freshman RHP Jake Mills threw one inning in relief as LBC defeated Rosemont in a wild one, 23-18 (Box Score).
The following players appear on collegiate rosters but did not see action this week due to injury (*) or other reasons.
Playoffs in the ACCC begin this week and BSCC did not play any games this past week.
Northampton had five games rained out and will add them to the upcoming week—a single 9 inning game on Monday, one “9” on Tuesday, twin 7s on Wednesday, single nine on Friday, and twin 7s on Saturday and Sunday. Seven days, nine games.
Should Messiah win their play in game and take two of three from LVC, Dylan Beard could potentially return for the MAC – Commonwealth Championship series during the weekend of May 12-13.
Chesapeake did not play this week due to multiple rainouts and finish out their regular season this week.
MCCC had several games rained out this week and Neal did not see any action.
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