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Berks Wins NEAC Championship Heading to NCAA Regional's

Penn State Berks (20-19-1) swept through the NEAC playoffs en route to their first ever NEAC Championship and taking the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Regional's.

Penn State Berks opened up their playoff run at SUNY IT as part of a play in game. Both teams were tied at 6-6 and would play one nine inning game for the last playoff spot. Berks defeated SUNY IT 8-3 on Thursday to capture the fourth and final playoff spot.

The men took on the top seeded Cazenovia College in their opening game and defeated the Wildcats 24-9. The Nittany Lions wasted no time getting things started putting up ten runs in the opening three innings of play. The men used five homeruns and a solid pitching performance from Brad Swavely (Junior/Reading) to coast through their first round game.

Aaron Klaptosky (Junior/Pottsgrove) and Dan Skawski (Sophomore/Emmaus) led the offensive attack in the opening game. Klaptosky finished the game going 6-7 with 3 doubles, 4 RBI's and 4 runs scored. Skawski ended the game going 5-6 with 2 homeruns, 1 double, 6 RBI's and 4 runs scored.

Swavely took the win throwing 8.0 strong innings giving up six runs on nine hits and striking out three batters.

Game two saw the # 4 seeded Nittany Lions take on the # 3 seeded Keuka College Storm. Keuka upset the # 2 seed Penn State Harrisburg to advance in the winner's bracket. Berks again took control of the game early exploding for 23 runs in the first three innings putting the game out of reach. Play was suspended in the third inning because of darkness and resumed on Saturday morning.

The Nittany Lions would not score again in the game but allowed just five runs late in the game before advancing to their second consecutive NEAC Championship appearance.

The offensive was led by Seth Shultz (Freshman/Conrad Weiser) who finished the game 3-4 with 2 double, 4 RBI's and 3 runs scored. Kevin Heilman (Freshman/Easton) ended the day going 3-5 with a double, 3 RBI's and 4 runs scored.

Jason Mays (Freshman/Wilson) picked up the win in relief throwing 5.0 innings allowing 4 hits without surrendering a run and striking out 8 batters.

The men would match up with the top seeded Cazenovia College Wildcats in the NEAC Championship game. Cazenovia would get on the board first scoring three runs in the top of the second and adding two more in the top half of the third inning. Penn State Berks would answer with two runs in the bottom of the third inning when Seth Shultz hit an RBI single score Pat Griffin (Senior/Council Rock North) and Aaron Klaptosky hit an RBI single scoring Tyler Fleischut.

Berks trailed 7-5 going into the bottom of the sixth inning when they exploded for six runs to take an 11-5 lead late in the game. The men opened up the inning with back to back walks by Adam Maurer (Sophmore/Warren Hills) and Tyler Fleischut. Seth Shultz continued his dominance at the plate with a RBI double to score Maurer and Fleischut. After a Cazenovia pitching change Phil Ball (Freshman/Saucon Valley) hit an RBI double scoring Klaptosky and Shultz.

Cazenovia would put up a run in both the seventh and eighth but there comeback fell short as Berks pitching held on for a 12-9 victory. Matt Emrick (Freshman/Freedom) got the win pitching 6.0 innings allowing 7 runs on 11 hits. Kevin Heilman threw 2.0 innings in relief giving up 2 runs on 3 hits while Tyler Fleischut got the save pitching 1.0 inning without allowing a hit and striking out a batter.

The offensive was led by Seth Shultz who went 3-4 with a double, 3 RBI's and 2 runs scored. Aaron Klaptosky finished the game going 2-3 with a double, 3 RBI's and 2 runs scored.

Shultz was named the NEAC Tournament MVP, over the three games his team played in the tournament, Shultz batted .667, had 12 at-bats, 8 hits, 9 runs scored, 9 RBIs, 4 doubles, 1 homerun, a slugging percentage of 1.25, 3 walks, and an on-base percentage of .750. Behind the plate, he had 14 putouts and no errors for a perfect fielding percentage.

The 2009 baseball team will be the first team in school history to ever compete on the NCAA National stage. The men will wait to hear where they travel for the NCAA Regional Tournament. The selections will be announced on Sunday May 10.
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