By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The West Chester baseball team added another line to its impressive resume last night as they beat Wilmington University 5-2 at Citizens Bank Park to win a fifth straight “Bill Giles Invitational”.
The victory improved the Golden Rams to 27-6 on the season. They are currently ranked 22nd in the country in Division II and one of the biggest reasons for this success, the play of senior second baseman Joe Wendle.
A product of Avon Grove High School, Wendle is capping a wonderful West Chester career with an absurdly good senior season. He is hitting .408 here in 2012 and he leads the team in numerous offensive categories including runs (40), home runs (9), runs batted in (41) and stolen bases (6). He also has seven triples this season, which not only paces the team but is also tied for the top total in all of Division II.
A left-handed hitter, Wendle talks about what he considers his biggest strength right now.
“Consistency at the plate, just being able to make solid contact day-in and day-out is something that I pride myself on. While it doesn’t always happen, it’s something that I focus on day-to-day.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Joe Wendle:
Might not always happen, but it has happened an awful lot during his time on campus. Wendle’s a career .364 hitter at West Chester and that’s seventh best in the history of the program and his 244 career hits have him up to #3 (tied) in the history of Golden Rams baseball. He also ranks second on the school’s all-time RBI list with 167.
West Chester head coach Jad Prachniak is the one who gets to write Wendle’s name into the line-up every game and it is a privilege that he does not take for granted.
“I know it’s a pretty special situation I’m in. It’s a guy that’s going to produce offensively, he’s going to make plays defensively. It’s just consistency at such a high level that it just helps fuel the team.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Jad Prachniak:
Wendle’s success has not gone unnoticed. Baseball America listed him as the 7th best prospect at the beginning of the season and his performance in 2012 has done nothing but add value to his stock. So there is a good chance his name will be called during the Major League Draft in a couple of months, but he isn’t getting caught up in that possibility.
“I mean it’s certainly something on my mind. But right now, my focus is on this team, this season right now. Just playing the best I can, individually, to help my team win. And if I get the opportunity to play at the next level, that be great. If not, then grateful to have played four years here at West Chester.
Wendle and the rest of the West Chester squad return to action on Friday for a home doubleheader with PSAC rival Kutztown.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw