MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – "Records are meant to be broken." We've all heard the quote. And unless we're talking about Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak or Wilt Chamberlin's 100 point game, most of us believe that adage to be true. Penn State Harrisburg has seen its fair share of individual, career and single-game records fall over the past few seasons but rarely is a school's fan base privileged enough to see multiple records broken over the course of just one season. We've seen women's volleyball player Bree Green (Philadelphia, Pa. / Cardinal Dougherty) set an NCAA record. Our men's cross country team posted its best-ever finish at our home invitational last fall.
Well, you can add two more names to the list: men's basketball player William Doyle (Franklin, Va. / Tidewater Academy) and baseball player Colton Houseal (Maytown, Pa. / Donegal).
On Dec. 21, Doyle poured in a career-high 40 points against Southern Vermont in the opening round of the 2013 Rotary of Frederick Holiday Classic. No player has scored more points in a single game since Penn State Harrisburg became a full NCAA member in 2010. On Mar. 31, Houseal went 2-4 in game one of a doubleheader against Salisbury before going 2-3 in the nightcap. His third hit of the afternoon gave him 139 total for his collegiate career; the most of any Penn State Harrisburg baseball player in history.
Doyle's offensive performance against Southern Vermont was one for the ages. His 40 points stand as the most ever scored at Hood's BB&T Arena. During the double overtime thriller, the senior captain knocked down a career-high eight three pointers and led the Lions back from a 57-43 deficit with just 5:24 remaining in regulation. He scored the team's last nine points of the second half, including three clutch free throws with one second remaining on the clock that tied the score at 59-apiece and pushed the contest to the first extra session. With the Blue & White trailing 72-69 late in the first overtime period, Doyle again came through with a three-ball that tied the game with just 25 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, when all was said and done the Lions found themselves on the wrong end of a 88-84 decision but the hard-fought defeat did nothing to damper the impressive nature of Doyle's historic output.
The 40-point outing foreshadowed more strong efforts from Doyle, including clutch performances in two more overtime victories over No. 14 Christopher Newport in January and another Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) foe in Marymount (Va.) in February. Doyle's outstanding senior campaign was recognized when he was named to the CAC's All-Conference Second-Team following season's end. He was the first Penn State Harrisburg student-athlete of any kind to earn CAC All-Conference honores.
Houseal's journey to the top of the Penn State Harrisburg mountain took a bit longer than Doyle's record-breaking 50 minutes but it was just as historic. Entering the 2014 season, Houseal could see the light at the end of the tunnel that was the school's career hits record. In order to get there, however, he would have to knock a familiar face from the ranks. TJ Houseal's (Maytown, Pa. / Donegal) 138 career hits had stood as the mark to beat from the time he played his last baseball game in 2012. Halfway through his senior season, Colton made it a 1-2 Houseal punch atop the Penn State Harrisburg record book when he surpassed his older brother as the program's all-time hit leader.
Heading into the Lions' doubleheader matchup with the eventual CAC champions from Salisbury, Houseal needed just two hits to tie his brother's mark and three to best it. So he went ahead and notched four hits. In the top of the third inning of the opening contest, Houseal singled to right field and drove in the Blue & White's second run of the game. In the top of the sixth, he singled again, this time to center field, tying the school's all-time hits mark. In the top of the second inning of game number two, he picked up his third single of the day and moved solely into first place. He eventually scored during the inning before adding another hit to his total in the top of the sixth.
By season's end, Houseal had upped his record hits total to 155. The senior was a model of consistency at the plate during his time at Penn State Harrisburg, recording 21 hits his freshman year before notching 48 during his sophomore season, 49 during his junior campaign and 37 this past spring. Houseal was named a North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Third-Team All-Conference selection in 2012 before earning a spot on the NEAC All-Conference Second-Team as a junior. He led the Lions to the program's first conference title in 2013 and subsequent first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament that May.
Be sure to check back later as we continue counting down Penn State Harrisburg's top ten moments of the 2013-14 season. We've got the top individual performance of the year coming in at number two. Any guesses? Go ahead and take a swing at it…