Here’s a question: If the Phillie Phanatic shows up tonight for the Penn-St. Joe’s baseball game at Citizens Bank Park, who will he root for?
As the Phillies play at San Francisco tonight, they will cede — for one game — their stadium to the Quakers and the Hawks for the championship of the Liberty Bell Classic.
The game is Penn’s first shot at a Liberty Bell tourney victory and represents a triumph for the team, which has been actively working to become a more popular sport at Penn.
“It’s a good time in the program’s history,” senior Derek Vigoa said. “It marks success for the program. Penn students can see how hard we’ve worked.”
“First time we’ve been in the finals since its inception,” coach John Cole said. “It says something about our team … I want to invite all the students to come out and support us.”
The squad went 19-21 last year, and started off this season at 2-4. However, the Quakers managed to get hot right before the start of the Ivy season, beating city rivals Villanova and La Salle in the quarter- and semi-final games in the mid-season Liberty Bell Classic and earning a spot in the championship game.
Since the Ivy baseball season started, however, Penn baseball has cooled off, going 6-6 in the league. The squad is currently four games behind Cornell in the Lou Gehrig division, which it needs to win in order to play in the league’s title game.
This weekend, Penn baseball has a shot to hoist itself to the top of the standings if it sweeps Cornell in four games at home this weekend.
“Our destiny is in our hands,” Vigoa said.
Nevertheless, the focus tonight is on the Liberty Bell Classic. But the night off from the intense chase for the Ivy title should still be very challenging.
Though St. Joe’s, which beat Temple and Delaware to make earn its berth in the final, is having a losing season, the Hawks have been on a roll lately. Their 3-2 loss to Massachusetts on Sunday was their first loss in eight games.
Cole said that he is not sure who will start on the mound, but hinted that he intends to use several arms.
“We’ll play Johnny Wholestaff,” Cole joked.
He also said that it didn’t matter which team the Quakers are playing and what league they are in.
“We always try to win every game,” he said. “We’re just going to try to throw strikes, and worry about ourselves.”
Vigoa, however, said that he does see the game in a wider perspective.
“Our first goal this year was to get an Ivy League title. So I think we should just go, soak it in, and try to get a ‘W’.”
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