The driving force behind what Penn is doing this year is behind the plate, in senior catcher Max Andresen.
"Literally, he's won a couple games for us. One was a walk-off homer,” Kingsmen coach Greg Dikos said. “Behind the plate, he's a stabilizing force. He takes away the other team's running game. There are very few teams that have tried to run on him. When you take that away from somebody's offensive arsenal, I mean, it takes a big blow from that team. So those things have been very key to our success."
Andresen's success on the field is rivaled only by his success in the classroom. Penn has 14 valedictorians this year, and he's one of them.
"I'm number 14, so I'm the last valedictorian,” Andresen said. “I'd rather be the worst of the best. But it's a great group. It's a really impressive group this year, and I'm just glad to be a part of it."
Penn is on a 4.0 scale for grade point average. But Andresen's GPA is 4.16, due to taking advanced placement courses.
"It's really just a determination thing," he said.
The only number higher than Andresen's GPA is his batting average. It's over .500. He leads the Kingsmen in all three triple crown categories - batting average, RBIs, and home runs.
"I'm just trying to help the team win games here,” Andresen said. “Hitting has always been my strong suit. I wasn't always the best catcher defensively. I was a pitiful blocker the last couple years. But it's really starting to find itself into my artillery. It's just hard work."
All that hard work has earned Andresen a chance to play Division I baseball next year at Miami of Ohio.
"It's paying off,” Andresen said. “It's great to see."
Everything is set for his future, on and off the field. So in between fighting off pitches, he's got to fight off complacency.
"'Senioritis,' it's a real thing,” Andresen said. “It's hard to avoid. But I still have my goals, I know where I'm going, and I have to keep working to get there. I can't slack off. If you slack off on the field, it shows with a loss. If you slack off in class, it shows with your grades."