By Darren Myers
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) boys’ baseball team is on its way back. The team is currently in its club phase, meaning that all of their games are exhibition games and they are not eligible for a playoff run. The idea for the team was brought to the attention of Athletic Director, Dave Murray, by Electro-Mechanical Engineering major, Cody Shoemaker.
Shoemaker, a member of Student Government Association (SGA) last year, used that position to plant the idea of a baseball team in the head of Chancellor Kevin Snider and other faculty members. “I started talking to a few students to see who was interested and I found three or four that were interested in bringing back baseball,” said Shoemaker.
Once the baseball club began gaining interest among the students, they asked Murray to be the club advisor.
The team is led by head coach, Jim Perry. There was very little time for Perry and the team to conduct any type of off-season training program. “The team was already in place when I got here,” mentioned Perry.
Perry, previously the head coach at Valley High School, enjoys the college atmosphere. “Before Coach Perry came, we were definitely less organized,” Shoemaker said. “I think it’s coming along decently, it’s a long process to revive a sport on a campus as small as ours, but we’re making strides.”
The team has 10 scheduled games for this season, but has been unable to play some of them due to the extended winter we had. They will participate in the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) where they will face other Penn State branch campuses, as well as local community colleges.
“Next year there will be a different atmosphere,” stated Perry. “I hope to have enough people recruited to be able to have tryouts.”
Perry is enthusiastic about building this team through the connections he has made from being involved in the Western Pennsylvania Coaches Association. He will use the connections he made as a high school coach to bring in enough talent to be a force to be reckoned within the PSUAC.
The club will run through spring of 2016 and will then make the attempt at becoming a varsity sport.