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Wild Things prepare for 2013 season

| Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The Washington Wild Things recently released their 2013 baseball schedule.

A member of the Frontier League's Eastern Division, Washington will begin its 12th season with a six-game road trip against two Western Division opponents. The Wild Things will play the Schaumburg (Ill.) Boomers May 17-19 and then the Rockford (Loves Park, Ill.) Riverhawks May 21-23.

Washington will open its 54-game home schedule by hosting divisional rival Southern Illinois (Marion, Ill.) Miners over Memorial Day Weekend (May 24-26).

After being idle on Memorial Day (May 27), the Wild Things will return to the road for six more games before closing the month of June with 17 home games out of 23. In August the Wild Things will play 15 of their first 20 games at Consol Energy Park.

Washington is playing six additional home games due to the formation of a travel team, the Frontier Greys.

The Wild Things have tentatively scheduled start times to be at 7:05 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at 5:05 p.m. Sundays.

The Frontier League is a 14-team independent minor league with teams in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

After making the playoffs each of their first six seasons, Washington finished below .500 for the fourth consecutive year last season with a 44-52 overall record.

Washington was the Frontier League runner-up in 2002 and 2007.

Southern Illinois won the 2012 Frontier League title after defeating the Florence (Ky.) Freedom in the best-of-five championship round, 3-1.

Hockey at Penn State

The Nittany Lions, who fielded a varsity ice hockey team for five seasons in the 1940s (1940-44, 46-47), are playing the 2012-13 season as an NCAA Division I independent and will join the Big Ten Conference in 2013-14.

Penn State opened its new era with a 3-2 overtime loss to American International College on Oct. 12 but then defeated the Cyclones the next day in overtime, 4-3.

Area hockey fans saw the new team on Dec. 28-29 when Penn State competed in the Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Penn State lost to Robert Morris University before upsetting Ohio State University, 5-4.

Starting with the 2013-2014 season, Penn State's hockey team will play their home games at the on-campus Pegula Ice Arena. The 200,000-square foot facility's main arena will seat 6,000 spectators.

Bruce Wald is a freelance writer.