Cougars Fight Against Cancer


Jimmy Fisher, Reporter

Baseball players are set to walk on the turf of a bigger league when they play at PNC Field, home to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

The  team will  participate in the Bill Howerton Inaugural Strikeout Cancer Weekend for high school and college teams on April 13 and 14. The event will benefit the American Cancer Society and honor  the late Bill Howerton,  former University of Scranton baseball coach who passed away earlier this due to brain cancer.

The event is organized by North Pocono High School head baseball coach Brian Jardine who was a pupil under coach Howerton.

“We want to get his name of a well-respected basis,” said Jardine.

Coach Jardine has organized previous events to benefit the American Cancer Society, but the Bill Howerton Inaugural Strikeout Cancer event will be the first, something that Jardine wishes to make an annual thing.

“I’m hoping to make it an annual thing at PNC,” said Jardine. “With all the colleges and high schools, they can get some neutral sites in and make it an annual and bigger thing.”

Jardine’s North Pocono high school will team will play the first game against Pocono Mountain East, and Misericordia will kickoff day two against number one nationally ranked Cortland.  Keystone College and Marywood University will also participate..

Playing on PNC field is not new to the Misericordia Baseball team, which has played on the turf against Marywood. This is the team’s first time since the field was renovated.  The work had forced the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders to play on the road, with “home” games at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York.

Coach Pete Egbert said t his team is looking forward to the return to PNC field.

“I’m sure it’s really exciting for them,” said Egbert. “The playing surface itself is just incredible, but now that they’ve just undergone a $40 plus million renovation they’re looking forward to that. It’s a thrill for them. I think it’s something that they’ll remember forever.

Egbert said players will get a feel for different fields.

“We were trying to get a game at PNC field all year, just again, for the opportunity for our guys to play at a first class facility,” said Egbert. “Speaking with coach Jardine down at North Pocono and the folks at the Railriders, this opportunity opened up and it was a natural fit for us.”

Egbert said current first year pitcher  Justin Haddicks is a former player for Coach Jardine at North Pocono and that connection played a significant role in getting the coaches together to organize the event.

Egbert said the event benefits a good cause.

“It’s a great event,” said Egbert. “I’m hoping that it’s well attended. It’s an opportunity for eight teams to play on a facility unlike any other they’ve ever played on and it’s something that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Egbert said playing against the number one ranked Cortland on a big time field is welcome challenge.

“For us Cortland is right now number one in the country,” Egbert said. “Not that we need to give them anymore reason to fire them up to play us, but for us it will be a great challenge, you know, we’re playing the number one team in the country on the best AAA facility in the country.  Originally it was our home game but because we were able to switch it there, we decided to do that.”

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