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LebCo College Baseball Prospect Tracker: 2024 Season Preview

By Steve Beard, LebCoSports Senior Baseball Contributor


“People ask me what I do in the winter when there is no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

–Rogers Hornsby


Fortunately, college baseball is not constrained to spring! In a few short weeks, the 2024 College Baseball Season kicks off and we will again bring you the best information we have on all of Lebanon County’s graduates who are playing at the next level.

Last year we settled on a format with embedded links that led to a player’s biographical profile on the team website, a link to season stats, and the team schedule. We also linked game box scores and stories in the synopses for the week. None of that will change. We will continue to look for and post video on X (formerly Twitter) on the @Longshots_BBall and @LebCoSports1 handles. If you see video of one of our guys, be sure to repost it and tag both accounts so we can include it in our article. If you want to contact Steve Beard directly with video or storylines or updates or any other information about a player (including video that you shoot on a phone), reach out on X or via email at


Here is a sneak peek at some of the story lines we will follow for the 2024 campaign.



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This is the group of guys who lost their senior season in high school and battled a log jam of “COVID players,” some of whom played up to six years in college. As they face their provisional senior year in college—each of them should have a COVID year of eligibility—many of this class will finish out in four before starting the next chapter. Tyler Long (Mount Saint Mary’s University/Annville-Cleona ’20) seeks to add to his impressive D1 resume, and if he emulates his hot start from last year (including a season-opening weekend in which he was absolutely unconscious), he will be well on his way to doing just that, with an eye toward the MLB draft in June. Long has established himself as a key contributor for the Mount in the batter’s box and on the field. Crest alumnus Jonathan LaBarbera (Bloomsburg University of PA/Cedar Crest ’20) ground his way to an impressive season, breaking into the regular lineup, and will be joined in the PSAC by fellow Falcon Amani Jones (Millersville University of PA/Cedar Crest ’20). Following an outstanding summer season in New York, Jones transferred from Stevenson to the Marauders and figures to make an immediate impact on Coach Jon Shehan’s squad. Finally, frequent MAC Freedom Player of the Week and 2nd Team All-Conference outfielder Christian Kreiser (Stevens Institute of Technology/Palmyra ’20) figures to tear up the division like he did last year as the Ducks welcome the Lebanon Valley Dutchmen to the MAC-F. Keep an eye on Kreiser to post another gaudy batting average, among other stats. And while not 2020, senior 1B Austin Baal (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania/Palmyra ’19looks to repeat a stout performance for the Raiders as they open very early, traveling to Tennessee for a game on February 9. Baal flirted with the PSAC HR lead all spring and should mash again.




We didn’t forget about 2020 HS grad Brian Coburn (Lancaster Bible College/Palmyra ’20). How could we? He was named United East Pitcher of the Year and hit the ball pretty well, too. It’s just there is another Coburn to help wear out the conference, as Brian is joined by younger brother Bronson Coburn (Lancaster Bible College/Palmyra ’23) this year. Of course, they are both reunited with former PHS Cougar head coach Neil Weber, the new pitching coach at LBC. The Chargers didn’t have much on the mound beyond the elder Coburn, but the new PC has the pedigree, experience, and skill to build a staff.



We didn’t forget about Kasey Shugart (Clarion University of Pennsylvania/Palmyra ’20) either. As he finishes year four as a mainstay in the Golden Eagles lineup, his fellow Cougar and Palmyra Orioles Twi-light counterpart Mason Kepler (Clarion University of Pennsylvania/Palmyra ’21) have a new head coach at the helm. Caleb Lang, a veteran college coach with a knack for developing high-powered offenses, replaced Doc Neiman, who took an assistant job at D1 St. Joe’s; Clarion’s record from 2023 doesn’t reflect the run of bad luck and close losses they had, and Lang’s offensive concepts should play well in the brutal PSAC West. Both players figure to help right the ship as the program rebounds.




The final 2020 guy we need to talk about is Cameron Dubbs (Penn State Altoona/Palmyra ’20). Dubbs saw a ton of reps for the Lions including a shot at the eventual national champs, Johns Hopkins. He figures to do the same this year in an even tougher conference. Another pair of Lions,  Riley Blatt (Penn State-Harrisburg/ELCO ’21) and Braden Collazo (Penn State-Harrisburg/Lebanon High School ’22), will pitch for the Harrisburg branch campus that likely gets an early look at a top 25 national ranking. And while not of the Nittany variety, sophomore Deklyn Marks (Albright College/Cedar Crest ’22) saw a ton of action as a first year for the rebuilding Albright Lions and should be a mainstay in Coach Justin Perry’s lineup.



Fresh off a Missions trip and a 4-0 run against academy teams in the Dominican Republic, Messiah University returns home to a realigned Middle Atlantic Conference and intentions for a deep playoff run this year. Junior infielder Dylan Beard (Messiah University/Cedar Crest ’21) is on the comeback path after losing over half his season following a collision at Widener in March. Despite the setback, he was recognized as second-team all-conference in the MAC-C and enjoyed a successful DR trip at the plate and in the field. Younger brother Austin Beard (Northampton Community College/Cedar Crest ’22) finishes his path on the “JuCo Route,” slotting in or near the top of the rotation for the Spartans. Region XIX is home to the defending 2023 NJCAA D3 World Champion, Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester. Beard picked up the only playoff win for NCC in 2023 against nationally ranked Middlesex and looks to help NCC return to the College World Series before he transfers to NCAA D1 Monmouth (NJ) University in the fall.




Three “JuCo Bandits” start the 2024 season in new places. Gage Miller (Alabama University/Palmyra ’21)  followed up an outstanding career at Bishop State Community College with a head turning fall as a transfer to the Crimson Tide. Various social media reports indicated that Miller caught the eye of new ‘Bama skipper Rob Vaughn who replaced the ousted Brian Bohannon, who was fired for his involvement in a scandal related to betting. The junior infielder should be an impact player immediately for Alabama as his MLB draft stock rises. Miller’s former Cougar teammate Gavin Neal (Lock Haven University of PA/ Palmyra ’21) will ply his trade in the middle infield for Coach Heath “Smoke” Stover. Neal’s former college teammate at Mercer Community College, Dalton Reinhart (Stevenson University/Cedar Crest ’21), heads to the Stevenson University Mustangs and looks to two-way in the OF and on the mound. (As of this writing, the player profiles for Miller and Reinhart were not yet complete on their respective team rosters).




Two integral pieces to ELCO’s recent deep state tourney run are poised for big seasons. Jeremy Eck (Mount Aloysius College/ELCO ’21) established himself as a key piece in the Mounties’ pen, working in the middle, in the back end, and as a swingman/spot starter. Recruited as a possible two-way, this former Raider will likely finish as a PO, and an effective one at that. Fellow ELCO alum Dakota Smith (Frederick Community College/ELCO ’21) appeared to be on the opposite path, moving from RHP to two-way after a stellar summer  with the Palmyra Orioles East Shore Twilight team. However, we just found out from Dakota that he is out until 2025 with a baseball related injury. More on this storyline as it develops, but for now, keep Dakota in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.




Of the thirty players we will track this year, a whopping fifteen hail from Palmyra High School. (Crest is next with eight). Thomas Zeigler (Messiah University/Palmyra ’21) returns as a junior for the Messiah Falcons, who continue to build under third-year head coach Phill Shallenberger. Nicknamed “TEZ” by his teammates, Zeigler will see action in the outfield and on the mound. The MAC Commonwealth did lose perennial favorite LVC in a swap of conferences, but Messiah will have plenty of competition from York and outfielder Jacob Deimling (York College of Pennsylvania/Palmyra ’22). The sophomore outfielder hit a pinch-hit homer in his first at-bat and followed that with a 3-3 day against nationally ranked Lynchburg and seized the starting RF role for York. Deimling should see plenty of time in the middle of the order for the Spartans.



Whether you like the term JuCo Bandit or not, these guys are just built a little differently. While college baseball in the regular season is not exactly glamorous, the Junior College atmosphere is a little edgier, a little harder, and a whole lot of fun. Caleb Fisher (Chesapeake College/Palmyra ’22) co-led his team in appearances as a freshman and served multiple bullpen and starter roles, which he will likely do in 2024. Noah Gonzalez (Northampton Community College/Cedar Crest ’22) filled a reserve outfielder/pinch hitter role as a freshman, reaching base at a .444 clip while swiping three bags. He figures to play a more significant role this year as Coach Adrian Yaguez’s NCC Spartans compete in the challenging Region XIX. (As of this writing, the player profile for Fisher was not yet complete on his team roster page).




Six new players are added to the Tracker this year. (Most of them don’t have biographical profiles online yet). Jordy Polanco (Lebanon Valley College/Lebanon High School ’23) joins the Dutchmen with a potential two-way role as they move from the MAC Commonwealth to the MAC Freedom with powerful teams like Misericordia, Arcadia, and Stevens Tech. Fresh off one of the best school seasons in recent history, three NL Vikings, Jared Ecenroad (Delaware Valley University/Northern Lebanon ’23), Brian Lowen (Central Penn College/Northern Lebanon ’23), and Dylan Byerly (Virginia Wesleyan University/Northern Lebanon ’23) look to break into their respective lineups and make an impact as first-year players. Nick Pagano (Neumann University/ELCO ’23) played a little ice hockey for the Knights this winter. However, he will trade his skates for cleats as D3 practices kick off in the third week of January. Finally, another “new Knight,” Robbie Best (CCBC Essex/Palmyra ’23), will travel the JuCo Route for his college baseball journey.




CW Gloveworks appeared on Instagram earlier this week as a new business. Offering baseball glove repair services (clean and condition, partial to full re-lace, and pocket shaping) and customized services, they espouse “quality work with a quick turnaround time to get you back on the field,” CW Gloveworks is self-described as “a couple of local college baseball coaches dedicated to impacting the game in any way.” While not a sponsor of LebCoSports or the Lebanon Longshots, we wanted to give some good press to a new local business run by two LVC assistants, Coach Chad Schell, and Coach Beth Woerner. High-level glove repair often involves sending your prized mitt across the country in hopes of getting it back in time (and condition) for the season. Hence, a new local option is welcome. You can contact CW Gloveworks on their Instagram page or via email at



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