Lady Bears hold off Indians
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Pleasant Valley's Kasey Meckes slides into second base safely as Lehighton's Kaitlin Green takes the throw. The Bears won, 7-1.
Coming off perhaps the program's biggest win in years, the Pleasant Valley softball team had the task of coming back the very next day and playing another game.
While it wasn't exactly one of their best games, the Lady Bears still managed to get the job done.
A day after beating undefeated Nazareth 2-1 and moving to 5-0 against Lehigh Valley teams, Pleasant Valley hosted Mountain Valley Conference foe Lehighton. The Bears were able to score some runs early and held on to beat the Indians, 7-1.
"To be honest, I wasn't really happy with today's game," said Pleasant Valley head coach Steve Caffrey. "I thought we came out a little sluggish. I think that is to be expected though after winning a big game yesterday. But all of those (out of conference) games don't mean anything if you can't win the league games."
Meagan Fitzgerald, the Bears' starter who earned the victory over Nazareth, took the mound once again and pitched another gem. Fitzgerald allowed just four hits and four walks over seven innings of work. The only inning she allowed more than one hit was the third, where Lehighton strung together a single and a double to plate its only run.
Still, Fitzgerald was practically dominant. She had seven punch-outs through three innings, with six of those Indians going down looking. She went on to finish with ten strikeouts (eight looking) on the day.
"I'd say Meagan is right up there with the rest of them as far as pitching goes," Caffrey said when comparing Fitzgerald to the other aces he has had in the past. "However, I think she is more into the game as far as doing a lot of other things.
"Meagan is a team leader. Whereas the other girls came to do their job, she is cheering the whole game and is getting everyone else going. She is one of the team captains so we kind of expect that from her."
Pleasant Valley plated six runs in the first three innings, but scored just one run after that. Furthermore, after collecting eight hits in the first three frames, the Bears had only four the rest of the way.
While its defense got better, Lehighton's offense did not. The Indians did manage to make better contact with the ball in the later innings, but mustered only two singles after the third.
"I think we got more comfortable," said Lehighton head coach Todd Weaver. "We are still in the growing process. We have a lot of young kids.
"I think the intimidation factor came into play since its Pleasant Valley. Once our girls realized that we could play with them, they calmed down and just started playing."
The Indians' (3-6, 1-3) lone run was driven in by pitcher Lauren Poremba. She doubled in Kayla Heckman from first with two outs.
Pleasant Valley received big days from catcher Jordan Borger, right fielder Alura Bellis and designated hitter Hayli Marini. Borger finished the game 4-for-4 (all singles) with two RBIs. Bellis went 3-for-3 with two singles, a double, two stolen bases and a RBI. Marini was 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored.
The Bears stay undefeated on the year at 8-0 (3-0). While the Bears' coaches expected the team to be good, even Caffrey admitted that he is somewhat surprised with the way the season has opened thus far.
"Obviously we are happy with the way the season is going for us," said Caffrey. "We still have to take it one game at a time though. I think our coaching staff is a little bit surprised with where we are. We've never started 8-0 before.
"As far as what we have ahead of us - this week will tell us what kind of team we really are. We have won five of our games by one run, so we could easily be just the opposite. But like I said, after this week we will see where we really are."
Lehighton 001 000 0 - 1 4 2
Pleasant Vy 312 100 x - 7 12 0
Poremba and Smith; Fitzgerald and Borger. W - Fitzgerald, L - Poremba.