DuBOIS, Pa. — A year ago, the baseball team at Penn State DuBois watched as Penn State Mont Alto celebrated winning the PSUAC championship after defeating DuBois in two consecutive games to capture the title. The 2022 season marked the first year since 2018 that the conference championship trophy didn’t come back to DuBois (no championship was held in 2020 due to the pandemic). Those sights and feelings stuck with the players all year. When the chance came this season to avenge those losses, the Nittany Lions didn’t look back, and didn’t hold back, on their way to capturing the PSUAC championship and bringing it back home to DuBois.
Spending Sunday and Monday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in University Park, the Nittany Lions played their first game of the weekend against Penn State Brandywine. The winner would advance directly to the championship series where they would have to lose two games to be eliminated. Playing as the visiting team, DuBois charged out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning on a Grant Lillard single that scored Colby Bodtorf, followed by another single from Cory Lehman that brought home Brett Beith.
Brandywine cut into the lead right away, scoring a run of their own in the bottom of the first. Brandywine then evened the score with another run in the bottom of the third. With the score tied at two heading to the fourth inning, DuBois starting pitcher Taylor Boland settled in on the mound, limiting Brandywine to just two hits for the rest of the game. The tied score would hold until the top of the sixth inning when Lehman drove home Bryce Dobson on an RBI double. Alex Gavlock would then add an insurance run with a sacrifice fly that allowed Nicholas Cahliola to score.
Leading 4-2 going to the bottom of the sixth inning, Boland continued and finished off a great pitching performance to give DuBois the win by a final score of 4-2. Boland went all seven innings for the Nittany Lions, throwing 124 total pitches. He only allowed four hits, two runs with one of them being earned, six walks while striking out eight Brandywine batters. Lehman led the way offensively for DuBois, with three hits in the game, including a double, and driving in two RBIs in the win.
After the win, Penn State DuBois awaited the winner of an elimination game between Penn State York and Penn State Brandywine. While this game was scheduled to be played on Sunday, Mother Nature had other ideas and the game was forced to be moved to Monday morning prior to the championship series being played.
Penn State York defeated Penn State Brandywine to set up DuBois against York for the conference championship. With Connor Cherry getting the start on the mound for the Nittany Lions, DuBois set out to leave little doubt just how much they wanted the conference title back in their trophy case. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, Lehman came to the plate and reached base on a fielder’s choice after York couldn’t finish off a double play, allowing Bodtorf to come home to score and Beith moving up to third base before a throwing error on the play also allowed him to score. That wouldn’t be where DuBois would stop in the first as Tyler Yough would knock a single that brought home Lehman to give the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead heading to the second inning.
Not wanting to slow their scoring pace down, Bodtorf led off the bottom of the second inning with a double. Beith followed him to the plate and stroked a two-run home run over the right center field fence to increase the DuBois lead to 5-0. That lead would be all that Cherry would need as he worked 5.2 innings on the mound, allowing just four hits, one run in the top of the sixth inning, walking two and striking out two. With York getting a run in the top of the sixth, the Nittany Lions answered that run right back with a run of their own when Bodtorf came home to score when Lillard reached first on a throwing error to give DuBois a 6-1 lead.
After Cherry’s prime performance on the mound, Ezeck Olinger, McLain Welshans and Jeff Romano combined to close out the game on the mound and Penn State DuBois recaptured the PSUAC baseball championship with a 6-1 win over York in the championship game. Bodtorf finished the game with three hits and scored three runs for the Nittany Lions. Beith also had two hits, including his home run, and brought home two RBIs in the contest. Yough and Brandon Sicheri also had two hits each for DuBois, with Sicheri recording an extra base hit with a triple in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Penn State DuBois will now enter the USCAA small college world series as the PSUAC champion. The world series will take place May 14-18 in DuBois. The Nittany Lions will enter the championship tournament as the number nine seed, facing the eight seed D’Youville University in the opening round of the double elimination tournament. The game is scheduled to be played on Monday at noon at Stern Family Field in City Park. The winner of that game will move on to face the number one seeded team Miami Hamilton, also scheduled to be played on Monday, with the teams playing at Showers Field at 5:30 p.m.
The small college world series will kick off on Sunday with the home run derbies for both the baseball and softball championships. The softball derby will begin at 6 p.m. at Heindl Field in DuBois and the baseball derby will start at 7:30 p.m. at Showers Field.
You can view the full details on both the baseball and softball small college world series here.
For complete athletic schedules, including changes to both the baseball and softball schedules, visit the Penn State DuBois athletic website at psuduboisathletics.com.