By Andrew Hunter
Knightly News Sports Reporter
The Central Penn College Knights took on the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Mountain Lions on Friday evening at FNB Field on City Island in Harrisburg, winning Game 1, 9-5, and Game 2, 14-5. With these victories, the Knights have set records for most wins in a season (17) and longest winning streak (10).
Before Game 1 of the doubleheader, the Knights honored seniors Alex Lilja and Ryan Stevens. Both have been integral parts of the Knights’ success this season.
The Knights started the game off by giving Dalton Koller the start on the hill. In his 3 1/3 innings pitched, he only allowed three hits. In the fourth inning, Koller walked four batters before Zavier Hernandez came to relieve Koller. Hernandez was dealing in the final innings as he scattered five hits in 3 2/3 innings, striking out five and not walking a batter.
The Knights were hitting the ball well to start off Game 1 with back-to-back singles by second baseman Owen Zell and third baseman Zach Boyer. After a sacrifice fly to center field from Nathan Wise, Owen Zell scored and put the Knights up early 1-0.
The stellar hitting continued in the bottom of the first with a double by Lilja, which sent Boyer to score. After Lilja’s double, Adam Hoover singled to score Lilja.
In the bottom of the second, there was another pair of singles by Zell and Boyer, but the Knights could not convert those hits into runs. But in the next inning, the Knights scored four runs with the help of Zell, Harvey McClain III and Stevens, all having an RBI in the bottom of the third.
The Knights put the final icing on the cake in the bottom of the sixth with a single to left field from Wise and another single from Lilja that scored Wise.
Zell was the Knightly News Player of the Game, going 3-for-3 with a run, two RBIs, a steal and a walk. Lilja went 3-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and two steals. Boyer chipped in a 2-for-4 effort with a run and a steal.
The Mountain Lions had eight hits with five runs in Game 1, but it was not enough for the Knights in Game 1 as they won, 9-5.
For Game 2 of the evening, Stevens got the start for the Knights. His best friend since coming to Central Penn, Adam Hoover, was catching for Stevens. In his 1 2/3 innings, the senior was sensational, striking out one and not allowing any hits. Stevens was then relieved by Lilja. In his two innings pitched, he struck out three and gave up only one run.
Offensively, the Knights scored in every inning except the fourth. The Knights started off with a Zell single, then he stole the next two bases and scored on a wild pitch. Boyer walked and then scored on a Gabe Kaufman single. After another single by Wise, the Knights scored again.
The Mountain Lions committed five errors in the bottom of the second, which contributed to the Knights scoring another four runs. In the bottom of the third, the Knights had the bases loaded and Wise got hit by a pitch and Colby Criswell came to score.
In the bottom of the fifth, the bats started to roll again for the Knights, as they scored three runs with the help of Wise and Noah Shatto, who both had RBIs. After another bases-loaded situation for the Knights, Kaufman came up huge with a double, plating two for the Knights.
The Mountain Lions had seven hits that turned into five runs but they could never catch up to the Knights. The Knights won 14-5 in Game 2.
The Knightly News Player of the Game was Stevens, turning in a solid start in one of his final home games. Wise also had an excellent game, going 1-for-4, with two steals, two runs and five RBIs. Kaufman was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3, with three runs, three RBIs and a steal.
With these victories, the Knights extended their winning streak to 10 games, a record for Central Penn College. Their record is now 17-14, also a school record for wins in a season, and they will face Lancaster Bible College on Tuesday with the hope of extending their winning streak.
The Knightly News Media Club livestreamed the games from FNB Field, which can be seen below. Paul Miller and Tyler Coleman were on the call. Gabryelle Breski was the producer and sideline reporter. We will return with our final baseball broadcast of the season as the Knights take on Bucks County Community College on May 2 at FNB Field. The coverage begins at 1 p.m.