PHILADELPHIA Lehigh Valley defeated Burlington County 5-3 on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park in the championship game of the 2011 Carpenter Cup Baseball Tournament.
Despite falling behind 3-1 after the first inning, Lehigh Valley used some spectacular pitching and defense in getting back into the game and capturing their third Carpenter Cup title.
"Today I think we did well defensively," said Northern Lehigh's Jake Kern. "We held them to three runs and we just had to pick it up with our bats a little bit. We scored enough runs to pull it out."
After Burlington County scored three runs on two hits and two errors in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-1 lead, the Lehigh Valley pitching staff was outstanding the rest of the way.
The combination of Seth Stoudt, Karl Keglovits and Shane Simpkins allowed just four hits and kept Burlington County scoreless over the last eight innings.
After giving up two earned runs in the first inning, Lehigh Valley's Matt Yanek posted one-two-three innings in both the second and third.
Not only was the pitching spectacular, but the defense throughout the infield was superb as well.
With two Burlington County runners on with no outs in the fifth, Keglovits forced Kevin McMenamin into a double-play grounder.
In the sixth inning with Keglovits still on the mound and the bases loaded with one out, a grounder back to the Lehigh Valley pitcher was turned into a double-play rather than taking the force out at home. A gutsy play that saved Lehigh Valley a run.
Lehigh Valley scored two runs in the fourth inning on Drew Hercik's two-run double that scored Evan Fardella and Rob Bennie.
A RBI-single to centerfield by Pleasant Valley's Drew Borger scored Matt Bonshak in the fifth to put Lehigh Valley ahead for good, 4-3.
An RBI by Nick Rabasco in the ninth inning padded the lead for Lehigh Valley.
The win marked the team's first Carpenter Cup championship since 2001. Lehigh Valley's other championship run came in 1998.
"It's just been a great feeling to meet new guys [and] become friends with them," said Kern. "Just a great overall experience."
Kern finished the game going 0-for-2 but made numerous difficult plays for Lehigh Valley at shortstop.
Borger and Derrick Walling represented Pleasant Valley in this year's Carpenter Cup. Borger went 2-for-3 with a RBI.
The lone player from Palmerton, Christian Marcin, saw his first at-bat in the fourth inning and went 0-for-3 in the contest.
Lehighton's Tyler Harris and Tyler Hill were also part of the Lehigh Valley team. Hill started in left field and went 0-for-1.
When asked about what he'll remember most about the Carpenter Cup, Kern stated, "Definitely the friendships and the experience to play on a field like this."
Lehigh Valley 100 210 001 5 5 2
Burlington Co. 300 000 000 3 6 3