When Coach Tom Calliari first started to recruit for the new Penn State DuBois baseball program in 2015, he set some seemingly lofty goals.
Calliari’s team would be the first one at Penn State DuBois since the campus baseball program was eliminated in 1993 due to budget issues at that time. Working from the ground up to rebuild the program and bring together a team that had never before taken the field together, the coach remained optimistic.
“My expectations are simple. I want to go to the USCAA Small College World Series. That’s our goal,” Calliari said as their first spring season kicked off in March.”It will be a challenge for us, but we can do this. It’s a possibility.”
That expectation became a reality this week when Penn State DuBois took fifth Place in the United State Collegiate Athletics Association (USCAA) Small College World Series in Great Falls, New York. Along the way this season, DuBois also claimed the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) Championship, three players also achieved All-American honors, several were named to All-Conference teams, and Calliari himself was named the PSUAC Coach of the Year.
“It definitely takes a village of people to establish and create this success,” Calliari said.”We recruited a different type of player; we recruited character first. With these guys, these leaders, people bought into the team and they really helped us out and supported us. We couldn’t have done this without that support. The dedication and commitment of many people, not just a few, got us here. There were countless hours in practice, recruiting, game day activities, everything. I wish I could pin-pointe one thing. I can’t.”
“Last fall 22 young men who didn’t know each other came together for the first time as a team. Over the course of the last nine months, this group bonded and in their first season made it to the USCAA Small College Baseball World Series,” said assistant coach Aaron Peters.
DuBois fell to Cincinnati-Clermont 4-0 on Thursday, ending their tournament run, and lost to Rochester College 2-0 in in their first game. However, the DuBois men sandwiched two World Series wins in between, besting Penn State Beaver 4-3, as well as Wright State – Lake Campus 3-2.
It would be the College of St. Joseph’s Vermont who would claim the USCAA Championship on Thursday, with a 14-3 victory over Cincinnati-Clermont.
The DuBois Lions won 15 straight conference games this year, setting their PSUAC record at 17-3, and 23-15 overall.
Caliari was named PSUAC Coach of the Year, while Dan Bowman Garrett Brown and Clayton Butler were all named All-Conference Second Team players. Brandon Gettig was an honorable mention selection. All-American players, second team in the USCAA were Dylan Womer, Dan Bowman and Anthony Caruso.
With the bar set high this season, Coach Calliari is already looking to move it even higher in the year to come.
“With the exception of two or three guys, we have everyone coming back next year, and 10-12 new guys,” said Calliari. “This is going to make us even better next year. We’re going to push everyone to compete and be better. It’s very exciting stuff for next year.
“We’re proud of our efforts this year, but we’re certainly not satisfied. We met our expectations of making the World Series, but we want it all. We got a taste and now we want more.”