They hope to propel themselves to the Small College World Series with that team motto
Correction: A previous version of this story identified Alex Lilja as a baseball-team captain, which was our reporter’s understanding at that time.
By Andrew Hunter
Knightly News Sports Reporter
The Central Penn Knights baseball team has high hopes for a successful 2023 season, with those hopes fueled by them scheduled to play six of their seven home dates at FNB Field on City Island, in Harrisburg.
Robert Stern, Knights coach for six years, has led the team to three winning seasons. One of his goals this year is for the Knights to have their first 20-win season.
He has another goal in mind, too.
“The ultimate goal is to make the Small College World Series,” Stern said.
This year’s captains
The captains have built a motivation to make a deep run from the team motto, “Unfinished Business.”
“We feel like we left a lot on the table last season, and we have a lot of unfinished business to care of,” Ryan Stevens, one of the team’s captains, stated.
Last season, they fell short of winning their first Eastern States Athletic Conference Championship, against Bucks County Community College.
The Knights have a large roster this year – 38 players. They’ve brought back 15 players and added 20 first-year players and three transfers.
“We have much more depth than we did in years past,” Stevens said. “I think this team has the potential to play in the Small College World Series.”
Finkey agreed: “This team can go as far as we believe. The only thing standing in our way is ourselves.”
The Knights are adding a new pitching coach, Zach Sacoman, who played baseball at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, pitching in 2015. This will be his first time coaching college baseball and he has his work cut out for him, with the depth the Knights have in pitching.
With this huge roster, the Knights have a very deep pitching staff, with 13 pitchers. Most of those pitchers also play other positions. Stern said he is “looking forward to seeing some of the deep pitching staff making an impact this year.”
A Knights player to watch is first-year shortstop and pitcher Nathan Wise.
“He’s an exciting player to watch and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do the rest of the season,” Stevens said.
This season, the Knights will be without star catcher Steven Armstrong. Armstrong was a key contributor to last season’s success and the Knights will miss his leadership on the field. Cameron Smiley, a transfer student from Gettysburg College, will fill in behind home plate.
Finkey is also a catcher.
Hunter is The Knightly News’ sportswriter.
Comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.
Edited by media-club co-adviser and blog editor Michael Lear-Olimpi.