Bears blank Stroudsburg
After combining for 39 runs in their first two regular season meetings, one might have expected Stroudsburg and Pleasant Valley's third match-up to be filled with many runs and hits.
Wednesday afternoon's Mountain Valley Conference semi-final baseball game was anything but that.
Each team recorded just two hits on the day, but the Bears came away with the most important one of them all. Jake Chamberlain's two-run single in the first turned out to be the difference in the game, as Pleasant Valley topped three-time defending champ Stroudsburg 2-0 to get back to the MVC final for the first time in two years.
"Obviously with Pat (Kregeloh) going, we felt confident," said PV head coach Karl Rentzheimer. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I thought it would be 2-0. I thought we would score a few more runs, but I was confident that we would win the ball game.
"We took advantage of what they gave us in that first inning and that was all it took. I honestly didn't think with the score 2-0 in the first that it was going to stay there - I don't think anybody did - but that is all it took today."
Following two hit-batsmen and a strike out to start the bottom of the first, Chamberlain stepped to the dish looking to make an impact. He quickly fell behind 0-2 on two foul balls, but didn't let that deter him.
Chamberlain laced the third pitch he saw back up the middle to plate two runs. Both runners had moved up a base on a wild pitch the at-bat before.
Regardless of the little run support, two runs was all Kregeloh needed. The conference's MVP allowed two hits and four walks while striking out six en route to earning the victory for his team.
"In the first inning, my command wasn't the best," said the senior. "I walked the one batter and for some reason I couldn't throw a strike to a lefty. That isn't usually the case, but I fought through it and was able to come out on top."
Twice in the fifth and sixth innings Kregeloh found himself with a runner on third and two down. The experience and poise that he has gained throughout the years paid off, as he got both hitters to fly out to end each inning.
"To tell you the truth, I act like there is no one (on third)," admitted Kregeloh. "That helps me throw strikes and just stay in my rhythm that I am in the whole game."
Pleasant Valley's only other hit came on a single from Tim Shea in the sixth.
After being eliminated from the MVC playoffs in the semis last year, the Bears (18-3) will face Lehighton in the championship today at 5 p.m. at Eastburg South.
"I think we are confident," said Rentzheimer, whose team hasn't won a conference title since 2006. "For whatever reason, it seems like we play tight against (Stroudsburg). I don't know if we are trying to be too fine. But I think tomorrow - whoever we play - we will be a little looser.
"It doesn't make it any easier though. I will be just as worried as I was today. I won't take anything for granted and neither will these kids."
Stroudsburg 000 000 0 - 0 2 1
Pleasant Vy. 200 000 x - 2 2 0
Eilenberger and Forth; Kregeloh and D'Arcy. W - Kregeloh. L - Eilenberger.