MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - Although still weeks from seeing green grass and a freshly groomed infield, the Penn State Harrisburg men's baseball team is hard at work preparing for the 2011 season. With a decorated group of returners and a talented freshman class, the Nittany Lions have great aspirations for the coming season. As first year NCAA members, the Nittany Lions have the opportunity to play the highest level of competition Division III has to offer, a challenge they are looking forward to.
The Nittany Lions finished off the 2010 season as the runner-ups in the North Eastern Athletic Conference just behind Penn State Berks. The Lions posted a 17-20 record winning 9-of-12 conference games. "After losing in the NEAC Championship game last season, the ultimate goal for the 2011 season is to win the conference championship and qualify for the NCAA tournament," commented third year head coach Jim Tetkoskie.
Returning this season for the Nittany Lions are two NEAC All-Conference players, Barry Wiestling (Hummelstown, PA/Lower Dauphin) and Drew Kramer (Mechanicsburg, PA/Cumberland Valley). Wiestling, a standout NEAC pitcher, led the Lions with a 2.80 ERA and will be vital in the Lions success from the mound. Kramer earned his NEAC honors for his out fielding efforts recording a .987 field percentage and committing just one error all season.
Senior, Nick Knull (Enola, PA/Cedar Cliff) spent his summer playing in the River Valley League where he earned Player of the Game votes in the all-star game. Knull, the starting third baseman, returns for his final season with the Lions.
Knull, Josh Kefauver (Wellsville, PA/Northern York), Pat Worthington (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin) and TJ Houseal (Maytown, PA/Donegal) will serve as the Penn State Harrisburg team captains. All four Nittany Lions have exhibited strong leadership skills both on and off the field and will be vital to taking the team to the next level. "Last year's team was very 'scrappy' and had to fight hard for a number of wins. This year's team is much stronger but still must get off to a better start," remarked Coach Tetkoskie.
The Nittany Lions will add several new faces to the roster, all of whom bring extensive experience and talents to Penn State Harrisburg. "After lacking depth at many positions last season, we have brought in a number of quality players who make us a much stronger team all around. We added more pitching, a couple young catchers and overall team speed." Third year head coach Jim Tetkoskie had a productive off season recruiting and developing his team and looks forward to seeing the fruits of his labor. Alongside of Coach Tetkoskie is a talented coaching staff comprised of Marc Frailey, Scott Ream and Mike Witman.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for spring break where they will face strong non-conference opponents like Eastern University, Swarthmore College and Catholic University. The home opener for Penn State Harrisburg will be held on March 19, 2011 as the Nittany Lions host University of Pittsburgh-Bradford for a double-header beginning at 1:00 PM.