PSU Fayette baseball team committed to winning
College Football Videos
Ray Smitley has been involved with the Penn State Fayette baseball program for 13 seasons, including the past seven as the team's manager. As he prepares for his eighth season as skipper of the Roaring Lions, Smitley is optimistic about this year's team.
“This is probably the best committed and hard-working team we've had,” Smitley said. “I've got some outstanding freshmen coming in, and we have real good hitters and pitchers. At this point we are ahead of where we were last year.”
Last year didn't produce the best results for Penn State Fayette. The Roaring Lions finished with a 13-19 record and were 7-11 in the PSUAC.
“We made too many mental mistakes, and we walked way too many hitters,” Smitley said. “We lost to teams we shouldn't have lost to. We didn't have deep pitching last year. This year, our pitching is much deeper.”
Senior Jonathan Eicher, juniors Connor McKeel and Braden Royer, sophomore Colvin Adey and freshmen Liam Constantine and Shawn Cotton likely will comprise Penn State Fayette's rotation in the early part of the season, with several other players slotted for relief work.
The Roaring Lions lost all-conference players Sam Beucher and Zach Durbin, as well as pitcher Nolan Zavora.
“When you lose quality players, it's tough to replace not only their ability, but their leadership,” Smitley said. “But we have young men that are up to the task. They have a great attitude, and they are responding well.”
Penn State Fayette has a 17-player roster, and according to Smitley, it's probably the deepest Roaring Lions team since the PSUAC championship team in 2004.
“We probably go seven- to nine-deep in hitting, and if they perform like they do in the cage and focus on what they need to do, they can accomplish anything they want to accomplish,” Smitley said.
One of the top returning hitters is junior shortstop/pitcher Alex Fogle. The Connellsville graduate earned all-conference honors and led Fayette with 28 RBI during his sophomore season.
“I can't say enough about Alex,” Smitley said. “He does a great job, and he has been smashing the ball. This could be a breakout year. He is a hard worker who is dedicated and committed.”
Also adding some punch to the lineup will be senior Cody Ward, a Connellsville graduate who is capable of playing in the outfield or the infield, and can pitch in a pinch. Last season, Ward hit .305 and led the team with 26 runs scored.
The Roaring Lions will start the season with a trip to Vero Beach, Fla., in early March. Penn State Fayette's first game will be against Rochester College on March 4.
Smitley is hoping the spring trip sets the tone for a big season.
“They are a great bunch of young men,” Smitley said. “They are committed to winning.”
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.