Kutztown University baseball coach Chris Blum has had success recruiting players from the Pioneer Athletic Conference as well as surrounding areas close to home in Berks, Montgomery and Chester counties.
The Golden Bears, who dropped both extra-inning ends of a doubleheader to West Chester University last Saturday, May 4, at Serpico Stadium, have enjoyed a fine season with a 31-14 overall record, including 15-9 in the PSAC East.
Rival West Chester, the defending Division II national champion, is 22-23-1 and 12-12 in the PSAC East. The Golden Rams won the first game of the twinbill, 7-6, in 10 innings and then took the second game, 4-3, in eight innings.
Kutztown’s local products include: Travis Kreitz (Boyertown), Jason Henderson (Daniel Boone), Kyle Stoudt (Brandywine Heights), senior Brett Hauck (Kutztown HS), senior Brandon Shurr (Schuylkill Valley), sophomore Joe Peters (Kutztown HS) as well as two pitchers, senior Jordan Garcia (Fleetwood) and junior Jordan Gottshall (Exeter Township).
Kyle Stoudt, a junior from Brandywine Heights, is a first baseman and right-handed pitcher for Kutztown University. He is batting .362 (second on team) and has played in 45 games, 41 as a starter. He has 138 at-bats, 23 runs, 50 hits, eight doubles, three triploes and 33 RBI. He has a .464 slugging percentage, 13 walks and a .416 on-base percentage. He is 4-for-6 in stolen bases and has 239 putouts, 22 assists and two errors.
Brett Hauck, a senior from Kutztown High, is an infielder. He is batting .333 with 39 games played, 37 as a starter. He has 132 at-bats, 27 runs, 44 hits, eight doubles, one triple and 15 RBI. Hauck also has 15 walks, a .403 on-base percentage, is 4-for-6 in steals with 62 putouts, 78 assists and nine errors.
Brandon Shurr, a senior from Schuylkill Valley, is an outfielder. He is batting .143 and has started 13 of the 34 games in which he has played. he has 42 at-bats, eight runs, six hits, one double and five RBI. He also has six walks, is 4-for-5 in steals with 34 putouts and three assists.
Joe Peters, a sophomore from Kutztown, is a catcher. He is batting .333 with 22 starts in 34 games played. He has 72 at-bats, 13 runs, 24 hits, two doubles, and two home runs. Peters has drive in 13 runs with a .444 slugging percentage, six walks and .429 on-base percentage, 48 putouts and seven assists.
Jordan Garcia, a senior from Fleetwood, is a left-handed pitcher. He has a 2-0 record and 2.41 ERA in 16 appearances as a reliver. In 18.2 innings pitcbhed, he has allowed 23 hits and six runs (five earned) with eight walks and 16 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .295 against him.
Jordan Gottshall, a junior from Exeter, is a right-handed pitcher. He has a 2-2 record and 5.09 ERA with 13 appearances, four as a starter. In 23 innings pitched, he has allowed 26 hits, 16 runs (13 earned) with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .283 against him.
Kreitz is a 6-0, 200-pound sophomore outfielder who bats and throws left-handed.
“It has been a good season,” said Kreitz. “We are playing well and having fun.”
Kreitz has been a starter in right field for the past two years.
He is batting .260 while playing in 41 games, 38 as a starter. Kreitz has totaled 100 at-bats, 25 runs, 26 hits, six doubles and 11 RBI with 17 walks and 11 hit-by-pitches. His on-base percentage is .415 with 44 putouts, one assist and two errors.
“Everything is just a little bit quicker,” Kreitz said of the transition to collegiate ball from scholastic ball. “The pitching is a lot better. There are little things to work on and tune up to make you quicker and better to succeed at this level.”
Kreitz usually bats fifth or sixth in the order. He and the rest of the Golden Bears have adapted to the heavy schedule of games and practices. Conference games consist of back-to-back doubleheaders Fridays and Saturdays at opposite sites.
“It gets to be a little grueling at times, especially with school, but it is still a fun time,” said Kreitz. “We are still young enough to do it.”
The Golden Bears have high hopes for the PSAC Tournament and possibly regionals and the World Series after that. The World Series will be played in North Carolina this year.
Thomas Rubendall of Methacton is a 5-10, 185-pound senior catcher and infielder. He started at second base against West Chester.
“Kutztown usually gets a lot of guys from the local area, Boyertown and Kutztown, guys from around there,” said Rubendall of Methacton. “Then we got guys like Thomas Romano and Ricky Gorrell from the Pottstown area and PAC-10 so they are starting to like that area, too. The PAC-10 has a lot of good players and is a respected area. Coach Blum saw good players that come out of the area and was able to find Thomas Romano and Ricky Gorrell, guys who could help the team out.”
Henderson is a 6-0, 170-pound junior right-handed pitcher and third baseman. He pitched the first three innings of the first game against West Chester last Saturday.
Henderson now has a 4-2 record with a 6.23 ERA in 11 appearances, all of them as a starter. In 39 innings pitched, he has allowed 54 hits and 34 runs (27 earned) with 13 walks and 32 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .325 against him.
“They like to recruit out of the Berks County area,” said Henderson. “It is a lot easier and it is a really strong and competitive area for high school baseball. They like to stick around there and get home-grown talent, I guess.”
He enjoys pitching in games against rival foes.
“Everybody gets fired up for these games,” said Henderson.