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Back On Top: Penn State DuBois Claims Fourth USCAA Small College World Series Championship

The 2023 USCAA Small College World Series champions - Penn State DuBois. Photo by Andy Close

DUBOIS, Pa. – Penn State DuBois baseball has built a dynasty.

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The Lions captured their fourth USCAA Small College World Series title since 2018 with a 17-3 win over UC Clermont on Thursday, the second win for the ninth-seeded Lions over the No. 3 Cougars in as many days.

“This one is the most gratifying for sure,” said Penn State DuBois coach Tom Calliari. “From where we started, these guys struggled the first 15 games of the year, we were really banged up. They had to learn to play the game the correct way. We did not hit one home run this tournament. We play the game the right way. Small ball, pitchers executed and we played tremendous defense. That’s what wins championships.”

The Lions, whose other titles came in 2018, 2019 and 2021, collected 15 hits in a game that was never in doubt, jumping out to a 6-0 lead after three innings and breaking the game open late with four runs in the seventh and seven in the eighth against a depleted Clermont pitching staff.

Penn State DuBois had to overcome its fair share of adversity both during this season and in the series. They started the season 3-10 before winning 27 of their final 30 games, going 5-0 in the World Series with wins over D’Youville (10-5), Miami Hamilton (5-4), Penn State Mont Alto (2-0) and 9-3 and 17-3 over Clermont.

They also captured the crown after perhaps their top overall player, Brett Beith, was lost to a dislocated finger in Wednesday’s win.

World Series MVP Colby Bodtorf and Logan Wagner had three RBIs each, while St. Marys Area High School graduate Brandon Sicheri got things going with a 2-run single in the first inning, finishing 2-for-3 while being named to the All-Tournament Team.

“This is an absolutely unbelievable feeling,” Sicheri said. “We just stuck with each other and kept bonding throughout the season. We weren’t just spending time on the field together, we were spending time off the field together, too, creating those bonds.”

See Sicheri’s full interview:

The game, like the back end of the season, was a total team effort, with contributions up and down the lineup.

“The coaches do a great job of keeping us prepared,” Bodtorf said. “Each guy is ready for his time up, prepared, locked in, and ready to go.”

See Bodtorf’s full interview:

 

Brookville alum Tanner LaBenne had a 2-run pinch-hit single for the Lions in the seventh, while Elk County Catholic grad Tylor Herzing was 2-for-5 with two RBIs and Clearfield grad Kyle Elensky was 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs.

“We got guys on base and came through,” Calliari said. “We do it the right way. We do it the right way on the field and off the field. I’m so very proud of how far they’ve come.”

Christian Hopp got the start and went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits. From there, the Lions showed off their depth, as five more pitchers, including Connor Cherry, who went 2 ⅔ scoreless innings, finished off the win.

“Christian hasn’t been healthy and he was probably about 90 percent and said he was going to give me everything he had, and he was awesome,” Calliari said. “We’ve got some good guys that show strikes, our coaches do a tremendous job and they were awesome.”

It’s a program that is rolling and is showing no signs of slowing down, and perhaps Sicheri put it best.

“Our assistant coach, says it best, where else can you compete for a national championship every single year?” Sicheri said. “Maybe Penn State wrestling and Alabama football, but that’s about it.”

                       

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