On paper, the Mountain Valley Conference baseball match-up between Pleasant Valley and Lehighton had playoff implications all over it.
Pleasant Valley entered yesterday's regular season game against the Tribe with an overall record of 14-3 and 8-1 in the MVC and was sitting atop the District 11 Class AAAA rankings.
Lehighton, on the other hand, had a 14-4 overall record, an 8-2 league record and was first in the District 11 Class AAA rankings.
The game lived up to the playoff expectations with Bears' right-hander Pat Kregeloh's stellar mound performance stealing the spotlight and earning his team the 3-0 win.
"I thought it was a well-played game on both sides," Lehighton head coach Brian Polaha said. "(Kregeloh's) fast ball was poppin', his slider was working well and he had good control the entire game. He was better than anyone we've seen this year."
Kregeloh delivered when his team needed him the most, totalling 10 strikeouts and two walks. He surrender just one hit, a fourth-inning double Lehighton standout Dave Behler.
"I felt I had to come out with my best game because Lehighton has a bunch of great hitters," Kregeloh said. "I was really feeling it and all my pitches were working today."
His counterpart, Behler, was impressive in his own right, fanning five, walking one and scattering seven PV hits.
One of Behler's biggest moments was in the top of the first.
The Bears' Derrik Walling beat out an infield single to start the inning. Drew Borger ensued with a blast that he legged out for a triple as Walling scored from first.
Instead of cracking, the Lehighton pitcher rebounded by fanning the side to Borger at third.
The following two innings sped by with Behler and Kregeloh dominating, until the bottom of the fourth when the Indians mounted their lone challenge.
Leading off the inning, freshman Jacen Nalesnik drove a shot to deep right center but PV's Walling saved a potential big hit by making a beautiful catch. Behler laced a double to left center and pressure mounted. However, seemingly on cue, Kregeloh retired the next two batters on a short pop up and sat a batter, swinging.
The Bear offense came alive for two runs in the top of the fifth, adding insurance and increasing the lead to 3-0. With one out, Rob Getz beat out an infield single and Chris D'Arcy came on with the Bears' second RBI triple of the game. Walling followed with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Walling.
The remainder of the game featured strong play with a sixth-frame double play by the Bears and four more Kregeloh strikeouts securing the Bears' win and handing Lehighton its first loss at its home field.
"It was a pretty big game for us in the Mountain Valley Conference," Pleasant Valley's D'Arcy said. "This helps to secure the league number one seed (in MVC playoffs next week). But it's all about playing good baseball, not seeds."
With both teams having secured a spot in next week's league playoffs, It might not be the last time these two meet up on the diamond.
"You don't get anything else for being seeded first in the league except a bullseye on your back," is how Pleasant Valley coach Karl Rentzheimer summed up the the work that still lies ahead for his team.
Pleasant Vy. 100 020 0 - 3 7 0
Lehighton 000 000 0 - 0 1 0
Kregeloh and D'Arcy; Behler and Nalesnik. W - Kregeloh. L - Behler.