Lehighton's defensive fielding and throwing was not for the faint of heart Thursday afternoon.
After failing to score a single run against Mountain Valley Conference foe Stroudsburg earlier in the season, the Indians' offense showed up the second time around to the tune of eight runs and 11 hits. Unfortunately, due to their defensive play it wouldn't be enough.
Lehighton committed nine errors in the field and had just one inning in which it did not make a mistake and give Stroudsburg a free base. Of the 13 runs the Mounties scored, only five were earned. While the Indians continued to battle at the plate and even made things interesting in the seventh by loading the bases with two outs, they couldn't make up for all of their blunders and fell 13-8.
"Pitching and defense has been the message the whole year," said Lehighton interim manager Matt Dierolf. "It is pretty much what the guys do best and what works for this baseball team. We have relied on that heavily and the guys have worked hard at practice all year long.
"Today we battled, but we made a couple errors here and there. Some of them were costlier than others."
Stroudsburg scored nine runs in the first three innings on seven hits. In that time the Lehighton defense committed four errors, with another being questionable, and allowed the Mounties to score five unearned runs. Stroudsburg would score three more in the sixth (all unearned) and one more in the seventh to cap its scoring for the day.
While their defense was far from decent, the Indians' bats were alive and well. Lehighton stayed with its opposition for the first three innings, as it tallied seven runs in the first three frames. Jacen Nalesnik, Nick Hill, James Farano, Kyle Troch and Jordan Knappenberger each drove in runs in that time.
Furthermore, the Indians had at least one hit in every inning and had at least two men reach base safely in every inning but two. Knappenberger, Farano and Nalesnik each collected two hits to make up for the majority of the locals' offensive output.
"We hit a lot against Northwestern and also today," said Dierolf. "We got a hit in every inning and guys had some quality at-bats. We have been preaching to them and the guys know that we want to cut down on the strikeouts. They have improved on that and that is a testament to their work during practice."
Bruce Breithaupt led Stroudsburg (12-2, 7-1) with three hits, including a triple and a solo homer, and three RBI. Fellow Mounties PJ VanOrman, Dillon Dunne and Gabe Solano each had two his as well.
The loss drops Lehighton to 7-6 (4-4) on the season.
"You have to take it one day at a time and one pitch at a time," Dierolf said. "Every game is a new game. Every practice is a new practice. You have to play it like that and have to have a short memory in this game. We will come to practice and get back to work tomorrow.
Stroudsburg 225 003 1 - 13 12 3
Lehighton 223 001 0 - 8 11 9
Stokes, Dunne (3) and VanOrman; Farano, Rex (4), Hill (6) and Nalesnik. W - Dunne, L - Farano. HR: S - Breithaupt (7th, none on).