Team wins 14 of last 17 games in late-season push for playoff glory
By Dylan Kleintop
Knightly News Reporter
The baseball season ended May 8 with a 16 – 13 overall record for the Knights.
The team came into the season with key players returning from last season, as well as some talented incoming first-year students.
The Knights had a rather disappointing season start. They split with Division II opponent Piedmont International, one of the biggest wins in school history. But after this split, the team went on to lose eight straight, followed by a nearly two-week hiatus due to unseasonably cold temperatures that caused postponement of five consecutive games. After this layoff, they rebounded by winning 14 of 17 games to close the season.
Christopher Rosario was one of the many incoming first-year students who helped the Knights over this season. As of May 4, Rosario had posted a .367 batting average, with three home runs, and 20 RBIs. Rosario also posted a .433 on-base percentage (OBP), and four stolen bases.
Jared Rivera was another first-year student who came into the season unsure of what was going to happen. As of May 4, Rivera had posted a .419 batting average, with one home run and 12 RBIs. Rivera had a .514 OBP, and a 1.159 on-base plus slugging (OPS) rating, which ranked first on the team.
“My first season went well,” Rivera said. “I didn’t know what to expect, because this is a fairly new program. It is a bummer we didn’t get a chance to go to the World Series, but there’s always next year. One thing I would like to see improved on is the scheduling. We lost (16) games due to scheduling issues and weather. It would have helped us if we had played those games.”
Knightly News team co-MVPs
The Knights had some key returning players from last year. Jerry Biller was an important part of the success of the team this year. As of May 4, Biller, a sophomore, posted a .386 batting average, as well as a .488 OBP. Biller had one home run, 20 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. Biller provided a key spark to the top of the order, often hitting leadoff, and was an important piece of the Knights’ defensive lineup.
“I felt like my season was very successful,” Biller said. “I grew a lot as a player, but also as a person. I have to thank the team for this though, as they were the ones pushing me to be the best that Ican be.”
Jerry Biller III has been named Knightly News Co-MVP for 2018.
Another Knight who played a key role in the team’s success this season was Quinton Heckard. As of May 4, Heckard, a first-year player, posted a .439 batting average, with seven RBIs, and 13 stolen bases. Heckard also had a .513 OBP, along with nine appearances on the mound, leading the team with 36 strikeouts, three victories and two complete games.
Heckard commented on a Knightly News Podcast: “We felt demoralized by the (1 – 9 start), but at the same time it gave us fire to turn it on later in the season.”
Heckard also discussed his reaction to being named the inaugural Knightly News Player of the Game on April 18.
“Honestly, I just felt special,” he said. “(The Knightly News) did a lot for us all season. I was honored to get recognition for the things I’ve done all year.”
He was referring to the Knightly News livestreaming the team’s games in the second half of the season.
The baseball season had many exciting moments, but the most exciting moment was the opportunity to livestream the games.
The Knightly News Media Club livestreamed four Knights baseball games to the club’s YouTube channel. Professor Paul Miller, Knightly News President Brian Christiana, Professor Thomas Davis and Athletic Director Dave Baker provided commentary, while club Vice President Ian Kemmerer was in charge of the camera and quality control.
“The livestream was great, especially from the point of other schools,” Brandon Casiano, a senior on the team, said. “It’s more interactive for people who can’t attend games. It makes them feel like they are there. It gets the school more involved with the sports going on. It also makes baseball more enjoyable for other people to watch.”
This was also good for Central Penn students and for the school’s communication program.
“I felt like this is a good first step for me,” Christiana said. “I was able to do what I love and gain experience by broadcasting baseball. I am excited to do more sporting events and be on a great staff here at Central Penn.”
The livestream will be used for summer and fall sports.