Pat Kregeloh had to think for a moment when asked when he became a home run hitter.
Whitehall got a chance to see what Pleasant Valley head coach Karl Rentzheimer has labeled "U.S.S. Kregeloh" when the senior standout hit a line drive home run off of a school bus in left centerfield to ignite a four-run inning giving the Bears a 4-0 win over Whitehall in the District 11 quarterfinal round matchup at Brodheadsville.
"The Phillies have Ryan Howard and we have Pat Kregeloh. That's all I could tell you," said Rentzheimer after watching him throw a 10-strikeout three-hit shutout as well as hitting the big home run. "His timing is impeccable. He has 21 home runs now in his varsity career, he's been first team all-state. There is such an ease of confidence when he's out there on the mound. He's our guy. He just pitches and battles.
"We knew we were going to be in for a battle from Whitehall. Andy Simock and I are pretty good friends and played a lot of baseball as teammates and he's done an unbelievable job at Whitehall.
"Ryuta (Amaike) is a good pitcher. We saw him last year as a freshman and saw him early on when we played them back in April. I thought we had some good at bats and hit the ball hard. And that built our confidence and we came away with the win."
With the score tied at 0-0 and Drew Borger drawing a lead-off walk to start the bottom of the fourth, Kregeloh stepped to the plate to face Amaike.
"I got a handful of curve balls my first at bat," he said. "So I knew a fastball was coming.
"After my freshman year, I started working out and it helped my strength a lot."
The Kregeloh home run seemed to rattle the Zephyrs as they gave up two more runs while watching the Bears bat around.
Jake Chamberlain followed with a double and came around to score when Chris Kershner's bunt attempt was fielded by Amaike and he threw it wide of third trying to get the lead runner. Tim Shea's bunt to move Kershner over was bobbled by Whitehall's Pat Bet allowing the latter to score.
Kregeloh kept the Zephyrs off balance most of the afternoon mixing his curve balls and fast balls up and the Bears were never threatened.
Rob Getz had the only other hit for the Bears, an infield single in the fourth inning.
The Bears seem to be a humble bunch and aren't showing any signs of celebrating and being happy with what has now become a 20-3 season.
"Right now we have to come out on Thursday with the same focus and same intensity and hope to come out on top again to make it into the district championship," Kregeloh said.
Rentzheimer likes what he has seen from his club lately also.
"One thing about this group of kids is after that MVC championship game and we got back together Saturday, there was not one word was uttered about that game," said Rentzheimer. "Nothing. It's just move on to the next game. We don't talk about pressure. We talk about the job at hand and that's what the experience of the 15 returnees from last year had done. They've learned to be patient and respect their opponents and that's what they're doing."
So now the Bears head to the semifinal round to take on Nazareth, a 8-1 winner over Liberty, on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Coplay..
Whitehall 000 000 0 - 0 3 2
Pleasant Vy. 000 400 x - 4 3 1
Amaike, O'Boyle (5) and Gerhard; Kregeloh and D'Arcy. W - Kregeloh. L - Amaike. HR: PV - Kregeloh (4th, one on).