Joe Sperone. Photograph by 302 Films via wcupagoldenrams.com.
West Chester University’s baseball team captured the 2023 Bill Giles Championship with a 5–2 win over Jefferson University in a rematch of last year’s first round action. It is the Golden Rams second consecutive tournament title and 14th overall since it began in 2001.
The tournament final took place on April 18 at 3 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Citizens Bank Park is one of the most prestigious ballparks in all of baseball. Opening in 2004 after the demolition of Veterans Stadium, CBP has played host to three World Series, six postseason appearances and a no-hitter in 2010 thrown by the late Roy Halladay. In 2026, the stadium will hold their first All-Star Game to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the United States declaring their independence from Great Britain. It will be the first All-Star game to take place in Philadelphia since 1996 when the game was held at Veterans Stadium. Players from both teams soaked in this moment, as it is truly a once in a lifetime experience to play at “The Bank.”
The Golden Rams got to this point by shutting out Chestnut Hill 2–0 on April 5 in the first round of tournament play. It was in the Chestnut Hill game that West Chester had an exceptional pitching performance and knocked runners in when it mattered most. We saw a similar result this time around against Jefferson with the Golden Rams pitching staff combining to allow just two runs on three base hits.Gabe Rappa started the game on the mound for West Chester pitching 2 ⅔ innings and allowing one run and one hit. The bullpen which consisted of Jeb Kurtz, Andrew Cantwell, Dylan Howanitz and David Ferguson combined for 6 ⅓ solid innings, giving up just one more run to go along with two hits and five strikeouts. Ferguson closed out the game for West Chester, pitching two innings and earning his third save of the campaign in the process.
On the offensive side, Luke Cantwell, a sophomore outfielder from Broomall, led the team with three runs batted in on two hits. The Golden Rams scored two more runs on the day with one coming off the bat of Joe Kaleck, and the other from a wild pitch. Kaleck, a first baseman from Southampton, had a nice day at the dish, contributing two hits to go along with a walk and that aforementioned RBI that occurred in the seventh inning.
With the win, West Chester improved to 23–12 (9–6 in conference play) on the season, while Jefferson fell to 20–15 (9–5 in conference). The Golden Rams are entering the home stretch, as they only have six games left this year (three at home, and three on the road). They will play three games this week against Millersville, and three against Kutztown the following week to cap off regular season play. From there, the Golden Rams will get ready for postseason play and look to make another deep playoff push. Last season, West Chester made it to the NCAA National Championships where they finished in fourth place. This team has a lot of players from last year’s roster and have the potential to make a run if they play to the best of their abilities.
For more information on the West Chester baseball team, check out the Golden Rams athletics website where you can find schedules, statistics, rosters, ticket sales and much more!
Erick Klambara Fourth Year MDC Major; Minor in Journalism EK924666@wcupa.edu