A new chapter in Pleasant Valley history was written this past baseball season.
As it turns out, Pat Kregeloh was both the author and the publisher.
It was a year of many firsts for the Pleasant Valley program. After three disappointing seasons according to their standards, Kregeloh led the Bears to places they hadn't been in nearly 30 years.
Thanks to both the right arm and the powerful bat of the senior, Pleasant Valley set a school record for wins in a season (22) and won its first District 11 title since 1984 - eight years before Kregeloh was even born. The Bears also won their first Mountain Valley Conference crown since 2006.
Thanks to his great artistry on the mound and at the plate, along with being the centerpiece in this year's run, Kregeloh has been awarded the 2010 TIMES NEWS Baseball Player of the Year.
"It is a great honor to win this award," said Kregeloh, who made this his second consecutive Player of the Year award. "It shows that all of my hard work paid off. It also feels great to know that I, as well as my team, was recognized for everything we accomplished this year."
Never in Pleasant Valley baseball history, or at least in the 22 years that Karl Rentzheimer has been a part of the coaching staff, has there been a player that meant more and did more for a team in any given year.
Every coach will attest that pitching wins championships. As it turns out, Kregeloh was arguably the best pitcher in all of District 11. He posted an 8-1 record over the course of the year and held a ridiculous ERA of 0.41 (3 ER in 50 innings) a school record. He had a K:BB ratio of 3.4:1 and surrendered just 20 walks and 26 hits to 198 batters (.146 batting average against).
Kregeloh was no slouch at the plate either. As a matter of fact, he was anything but. The Bears' No. 3 hitter finished the year with a .408 batting average (29-for-71) and a .558 on-base-percentage. He hit eight bombs (second in school history to his nine in 2009), drove in 29 runs and scored 32 times (tied with teammate Derrik Walling for single-season record).
"No, never," said Rentzheimer, when asked if there was ever a Pleasant Valley player who meant more to his team. "He could switch a game around in a second. The closest I have ever had was probably Paul Smith ('07), but the home run power was not even close.
"There is no doubt in my mind considering both his pitching and his hitting. It's amazing because he is out there on the mound battling and then he comes to the plate with the same focus. Not only is he responsible for the score being 0-0, but he is responsible for you being ahead 2-0."
Kregeloh's legacy was defined in three games this season. His first heroic moment came against Easton on April 10. With his team down 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Kregeloh stepped to the dish with runners on first and second and two down.
The Bears' all-time home run leader (21 HRs) didn't waste any time and swung at the first pitch he saw. Within a split-second the ball hit the bat. The next thing the ball would hit would be a bus in a compound behind the left field wall.
"The Easton game was amazing," said Rentzheimer. "Pat steps up, down two, two outs, runners on first and second. First pitch game over. That moment did so much for our team and our confidence."
A month later, while in search of his first MVC trophy, Kregeloh came up big yet again in the championship game against Lehighton. He hit two two-run homers in the contest one to tie the score at three and another late to give the Bears a lead they would not relinquish.
Kregeloh then saved his best for last. In the District 11 AAAA title game against Parkland, he took the mound and delivered with one of the finest pitching performances of his career. Kregeloh tossed a complete-game two-hitter in the 5-0 victory and had only three balls leave the infield.
"I actually think it helped by losing our first game of the year to Freedom," admitted Kregeloh. "It brought us down to Earth and showed us that we had to work hard for everything. That lesson stayed with us throughout the year.
"I will never forget that District 11 championship game. Hopefully it is something no one else at Pleasant Valley will forget either."