DuBOIS — Coming off back-to-back trips to the Small College World Series in the program’s first two years of existence, the Penn State DuBois baseball team is primed to make another postseason run in 2018.
A third straight trip to the World Series would be extremely special, as DuBois is set to host the event this year at Showers Field. The Nittany Lions have the pieces in place to achieve that goal, but they have perform on the field and earn their way back as the host school is not guaranteed spot in the tournament.
Head coach Tom Calliari welcomes back a veteran squad that has been infused with some fresh, new talent.
“I don’t want to say this is the best team we’ve had, because we haven’t played a game yet.,” said Calliari. “But on paper, depth-wise we are in such a different place. We’re two and three deep at every position now with some of the talented freshmen we’ve hand come in.
“So, there are some very difficult decisions on who is going to play and when they are going to play and pick spots for guys. But, that’s going to benefit us as the guys in the fall saw they were going to have to compete end push each other even more for playing time.
“There are some high expectations, and it would be great to make it back to the World Series with us hosting it. We have to earn our way, which is the right way, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I don’t want pressure on the kids though. We have standards that we have developed here, and if we keep those standards high, those things will take care of themselves. The pressure is on me to get them there. I just want them to got out and play.”
Calliari will count on the likes to two-year starters Garrett Brown (DuBois Area), Caleb Bennett (St. Marys), Dan Bowman (Central Cambria) and Brandon Gettig (Bald Eagle Area), among others, to lead the way. He said Toner Corl (Central Mountain), a freshman transfer from Lock Haven University, also has asserted himself as a leader.
Most of those veterans are infielders, with Brown anchoring the outfield along with Clayton Butler and Lance Pennington (Punxsutawney).
Pitching always dictates how well a team does, though. DuBois excelled in that area a year ago but lost two of its top arms in Dom Kriner and Alex Hart.
“We’re really going to miss Kriner and Hart. Those guys were our horses on the mound last year,” said Calliari. “We have about 14-15 guys who can pitch, and we definitely have some ability there. Our goal is to see who is going to separate and be the Dom and Alex of this year.”
Corl and lefty LJ Johnson look to lead that group along with veteran returnees like Bowman, Bennett and Austin Amacher (Ridgway). Butler is the team’s closer.
Calliari will again be assisted by Mike Nesbitt, Paul Hetrick and Aaron Peters. Clayton Read and Jeff Gasbarre are new to the staff this year.
DuBois opens its season this weekend with a series of games at the Ripken Experience in Mrytle beach, S.C. The home opener is slated for Saturday, March 10 against Wright State-Lake Campus.
Seniors: Caleb Bennett, Dan Bowman. Juniors: Austin Amacher, Garrett Brown, Clayton Butler, Brandon Gettig, Shane Haberberger, Bryce Hanley, Logan Johnson, Jesse Martin, Thomas Plummer, Blaise Roush, Colton Treaster, John White. Sophomores: Talon Falls, Justin Orlowski, Nick Semanek, Vince McDowell, Brandon Orisch, Lance Pennington. Freshmen: Morgan Bell, Lucas Burkett, Toner Corl, Joey Dipietro, Jackson Frank, Kyle Gill, David Koslowski, Thayne Morgan, Frank Stefko, Johnathan Thomas.