DUBOIS, Pa. — The Penn State DuBois baseball team rolled out from campus early Friday morning, March 2, to head to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This would mark the second straight season DuBois would make the Spring Training trip to the Ripken Experience to play a tough seven games over the course of four days.
Game summaries for the week were provided by assistant coach Aaron Peters.
DAY ONE: Saturday, March 3
GAME ONE: Penn State DuBois vs Garrett College
Penn State would draw a rematch in it's first game on Saturday March 3 against Garrett College. Last year at Myrtle, DuBois had a lead late on Garrett College, but Garrett would come back to defeat DuBois. This year, DuBois was looking to return the favor. DuBois pitcher, LJ Johnson would get the start for the opening game, and the left hander was in control of the game from the start.
Johnson would get staked to an early 4-0 lead as DuBois would load the bases and get a huge clutch hit from Senior 1B/P Dan Bowman. Bowman, who played in the Myrtle Beach summer league last year, loves to play at the Ripken Complex. He promptly stepped into the box and ripped a gap shot into right centerfield that cleared the bases and gave DuBois an early 4-0 advantage.
LJ Johnson would go to work, retiring Garrett College in the bottom of the first, getting a slick double play from the infield combo of Caleb Bennett and Toner Corl to retire the side.
In the top of the second, Dan Bowman once again came through in the clutch, smacking a two-run RBI single to up the DuBois lead to 6-0. Garrett College got two up on the board in the bottom half as the wind played havoc with fly balls. During the first game, there were wind gusts between 20-40 mph that both teams had to contend with, and resulted in several DuBois errors aiding Garrett on the scoreboard.
Both pitchers settled in with score 6-4 in favor of DuBois, and there was no scoring until DuBois's half of the 6th. Dan Bowman continued his hot hand at the plate ripping his second double of the game. DuBois added four runs in the frame to push the lead to 10-4. In addition to Bowman's double, senior SS/P Caleb Bennett added an RBI, and freshman catcher, Frankie Stefko, added his first college RBI to up the lead to 12-4.
LJ Johnson finished his day pitching five full innings and earned the victory on the mound. Garrett College would add a few runs late, but DuBois would get out of the 7th to earn an opening day victory of 12-7. Dan Bowman finished the day a perfect 4-4 at the plate with two doubles, two singles, and 5 RBI's for DuBois.
GAME TWO: Montgomery College vs Penn State DuBois
Game two found DuBois as the home team for the first time in the young 2018 season. Austin Amacher would get the nod on the hill for DuBois to start. After getting the first out, Amacher would give up a single and a walk, but was bailed out on a double play from Morgan Bell, Toner Corl, and a great stretch at firstbase from Dan Bowman.
DuBois would get base runners in the bottom of the first, but wasn't able to push a run across. Later in the third inning, DuBois would break out on top 1-0. Toner Corl walked and would scored all the way from first on an absolute missle shot off the bat of Talon Falls. Montgomery would tie things up in the top of the 4th inning, but DuBois added a second run in the bottom half of the 4th. Colton Treaster led off with a walk and was pinch run for by the speedy Shane Haberberger. Haberberger stole second base, and then came around to score on a two out clutch RBI single from Morgan Bell giving DuBois a 2-1 lead.
Montgomery College would tie things once again in the 5th, and later put a two-spot up to grab a 4-2 lead in the 6th. DuBois would threaten in the 6th and 7th innings, but they couldn't get a run in and would drop the afternoon contest 4-2. On the day, DuBois would finish with 1-1 record.
DAY TWO: Sunday March 4, 2018:
GAME THREE: Penn State DuBois vs Chesapeake
Sunday would find DuBois in a doubleheader affair with DI JUCO school, Chesapeake at the Polo Grounds in Ripken Complex. This contest would prove to be an exciting back and forth game, that ultimately saw DuBois fall short 9-8.
In the top of the 1st inning, Toner Corl led off for DuBois with a single and would move to second base on a passed ball. Lance Pennington walked, and then Dan Bowman continued with his torrid start of the 2018 season, singling to center field and driving in Corl. Toner Corl would also be the starting pitcher in this game and faced a dangerous Chesapeake lineup. Corl would contain the Chesapeake lineup until the 4th inning when Chesapeake grabbed it's first lead scoring three runs.
It didn't take long for DuBois to respond as in the top of the 5th, pinch-hitter Garrett Brown got it rolling with a lead-off single. Talon Falls followed with a single of his own, and then after a deep fly ball off the bat of Lance Pennington was caught, Brown tagged and moved to third base. Dan Bowman walked to load the bases. Joey Diepietro, Caleb Bennett, and Thayne Morgan all followed with RBI's, and the fast Morgan caused a defensive mistake allowing one more run to score as DuBois took the lead back 5-3.
In the bottom of the frame, Chesapeake added four runs aided by several DuBois defensive miscues to jump back on top 7-5. Moving into the top of the 6th inning, DuBois pushed in three runs. A key lead off double from Toner Corl got the rally started, with the big blow in the inning; a towering two run RBI double off the left centerfield wall from Joey Diepietro that gave the lead back to DuBois 8-7.
This game had the feel that the last team to bat would end up winning, and it turned out to be the case today. Chesapeake would rally again in the bottom of the 7th with two runs to earn the walk-off win and defeat DuBois by a final score of 9-8. Their victory would be short-lived as DuBois would bounce back in the second game to earn a split on the day.
GAME FOUR: Chesapeake vs Penn State DuBois
When a team plays a lot of games in a short period of days, the pressure gets placed on the pitching staff to come through. DuBois pitcher Brandon Orsich would get the ball to start for DuBois, and Orsich proved a tough match for Chesapeake. Orsich would go out in the first inning and got off to a great start retiring Chesapeake in order.
DuBois came to the plate, and the offense continued to mash the ball. Dan Bowman and Joey Diepietro had RBI hits that would stake Orsich to a 3-0 lead after one full inning. DuBois added another run across in the third to go up 4-0, but with a great team like Chesapeake, it's only a matter of time before their bats come alive. In the 5th inning, Chesapeake roughed up Orsich a bit and tied it up at four apiece, but Orsich composed himself and got the final two outs to leave the score deadlocked at 4 all.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, DuBois would get two more runs on RBI singles from Talon Falls and pinch-hitter Vince McDowell to give DuBois the 6-4 lead going into the 6th inning. Orsich retired Chesapeake in the 6th inning, and in the bottom of the inning, DuBois pushed two more runs across to go up 8-4. A RBI single from Toner Corl and a sacrifice fly from Talon Falls resulted in the runs.
Orsich would start the 7th inning, bidding to go the distance, but some bad luck forced DuBois Manager Tom Calliari to lift him from the game. The lead-off batter for Chesapeake bounced into a comebacker to the mound, unfortunately the ball got a nice bounce from the turf and as Orsich went to field the ball, he lost it in the glare of the sun. Orsich would then give up a single, and that was all for Orsich's day.
DuBois turned to freshman Dave Kozlowski to come in and close things out. After getting the first out, Chesapeake would single in a run, but that would be all as Kozlowski collected himself and slammed the door to hand DuBois the victory.
A strong pitching outing from Brandon Orsich, some timely hitting, and a gutsy outing from Kozlowski fueled the win. After two full days at Myrtle Beach, DuBois found themselves with a 2-2 record and would get a bit of a respite for Monday, playing only one evening game against fellow PSUAC opponent Penn St Schuylkill.
DAY THREE: Monday March 5, 2018
GAME FIVE: Penn State DuBois vs Penn State Schuylkill
Since the DuBois baseball program was re-started in 2015, DuBois has established itself as one of the best teams in the PSUAC. As a result, anytime DuBois plays a conference opponent, it can be a contentious game, and this time was no different.
Injuries were a challenge for DuBois all week long in Myrtle Beach with several key starters and pitchers unable to play. DuBois turned to the hard throwing right hander, Tom Plummer to open the game, and Plummer didn't disappoint. Plummer mixed in a solid slider with his pitches to keep the Schuylkill batters guessing.
DuBois broke through first in the second inning when Thayne Morgan's grounder scored Nick Semanek to give DuBois the 1-0 lead early. Schuylkill tied it up at 1-1, and it remained that way most of the game. Eventually, Plummer reached his pitch count limit and had to give way to the bullpen. Schuylkill took advantage of the move and scored a run in the sixth and two more runs in the seventh to earn the victory over DuBois by a score of 4-1.
DuBois dropped to 2-3 on the season.
DAY FOUR: Tuesday March 6, 2018
GAME SIX: Luzerne CC vs Penn State DuBois
With little time to rest up, DuBois returned to action Tuesday morning in their final game at Ripken Complex. Once again DuBois found themselves at the Polo Grounds for this contest. DuBois would turn to Senior Dan Bowman as it's starting pitcher. After retiring Luzerne in the top of the first inning, DuBois got on the board in the bottom of the first. A lead off walk from Garrett Brown got it going. Brown stole second and the throw sailed into center field allowing Brown to advance to third base. Brown then scored on a sac fly from Toner Corl to put DuBois up 1-0.
DuBois picked up another run in the third inning as Shane Haberberger scored on a Luzerne infield error to put DuBois up 2-0. Luzerne would pick up its lone run in the fourth, and then Dan Bowman found his rhythm as he retired the remaining hitters he faced. DuBois added two more in the fourth to pad its lead at 4-1.
DuBois would eventually break it open and finish off Luzerne via the ten run rule in the 6th. There were many key hits in the inning, including the first college hit and RBI's from DuBois freshman Jon Thomas.
Bowman would earn the mound win, and DuBois would even its record at 3-3.
GAME SEVEN: Rochester Tech vs Penn State DuBois
DuBois would get the chance to play its final game at Pelicans Stadium in Myrtle Beach, home of the Chicago Cubs minor league affiliate, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. All afternoon long rain threatened play, but the warm 65-degree weather proved to be a much needed break from the unseasonable cool temperatures and high winds that were around the last few days.
Freshman Morgan Bell would get the start on the hill for DuBois, and he pitched a solid game despite some untimely defensive errors behind him that put DuBois down early. Bell would settle in and regain his composure to help keep his team close throughout the game. The lead would change hands several times until the 5th inning, when DuBois found themselves down 5-3. Rochester had the bases loaded with only one out, when DuBois turned to the crafty lefty Blaise Roush out of the bullpen.
Roush came into a tough situation and promptly stuck out the next two batters on only 6 pitches to retire Rochester and bail DuBois out of trouble. Roush would continue his brilliant display on the mound, retiring Rochester in order to end the top of the 6th. DuBois would score a run in the
bottom of the 6th to close to within one run.
In the top of the 7th, the Rochester lead-off man singled to center, but on this day Roush would be too tough and didn't back down. He struck out the next batter, then he induced a ground ball that resulted in a double play to finish the inning. The double play ignited the energy of the DuBois team, and they would see the dual speedsters of Shane Haberberger and Thayne Morgan up first for DuBois.
Haberberger would draw a walk with Morgan to follow. Haberberger would steal second and move to third after the throw got away from the Rochester defense. Thayne Morgan then hit a clutch single to score Haberberger and draw DuBois into a 5-5 tie. Mogan would then steal second and would score the winning run courtesy of a walk-off RBI single from Talon Falls to clinch the victor for DuBois.
Blaise Roush would earn the mound win for his key performance, and on the day Talon Falls went 6-8 in both games. DuBois finished it's Myrtle Beach trip with a 4-3 record and returned home Wednesday, March 7.
DuBois will be back in action Saturday, March 17, for their home opener at Showers Field against Keuka College.