Bears avenge loss to Indians
bob ford/times news Pleasant Valley shortstop Drew Borger (right) awaits the throw at second base as Lehighton courtesy runner Parker David dives back safely.
It was a tale of two different pitching staffs Monday in Brodheadsville.
While Lehighton's staff had trouble throwing strikes and getting people out all day, Pleasant Valley's stayed on point and did a good job of keeping the Indians off of the bases.
In the end, it was the Bears earning some redemption from an early season Mountain Valley Conference loss in Lehighton by beating up on the Indians, 14-1.
"It was very important to get a win today," said Pleasant Valley head coach Karl Rentzheimer. "When you look at the standings, No. 1 versus No. 2, you want to win on your home field. Not to take anything away from Lehighton, but I don't think we played very well last time. We made a lot of errors. Today we were able to play better and come away with the win."
Pleasant Valley (9-6, 7-6) received a great start from Tom Agosta. Agosta struck out four while surrendering just two hits and three walks in four innings of work. The only run scored against him was unearned.
Meanwhile, his counter-part A.J. Wenrich was not as sharp. Wenrich started out well, as the first run he gave up was also unearned. However, an inning later he allowed the first three runners to reach base and eventually score.
Wenrich later received a scare when he was hit in the leg by a line drive. Head coach Brian Polaha decided to let him continue and he wound up inducing a double-play to end the inning. The good vibes didn't last long though, as Wenrich ran into trouble in the third and was eventually pulled after giving up five runs on three hits. His replacement, Anthony Farole, didn't fare any better as he gave up five runs via seven walks and three hit-batsmen.
"I thought A.J. did okay early," said Polaha. "We didn't help him out. There were some plays that we probably could have made but didn't. Then he made some bad pitches that they hit for some extra-bases.
"This is the first game of a five-games-in-a-six-day stretch, so at that point I just decided to save some arms. (Agosta) was on and we wanted to protect the fort a little bit. We are still in position where we control our own destiny for the No. 1 seed in the MVC. I wasn't going to burn up arms being down 9-1 with the way (Agosta) was throwing."
The bottom half of the Bears' order came through in a big way. Pleasant Valley's No. 6 through No. 9 hitters combined to go 6-for-8 with five walks, five RBIs and 11 runs scored. Tim Raseley was 2-for-2 with a RBI and three runs scored, while Dan Hrbek went 3-for-3 with an RBI, a stolen base and three runs scored.
"Personally, I think I really needed this game," said Hrbek. "I haven't been playing the way I should be. I was seeing the ball well today."
Hrbek's head coach seconded his sentiments.
"The top three guys have been our top guys average-wise," said Rentzheimer. "The other guys have just run into some tough at-bats. We have confidence that these guys can swing. If we didn't then they wouldn't be here."
While Polaha was disappointed with the Indians' loss, he quickly turned his attention to his team's next game.
"I try not to make a big deal of any one win or one loss," Polaha said. "Obviously we need to play better, but we need to get over it right away because we have a big game at Stroudsburg (on Tuesday). It may help to forget this one by coming out and having to play again."
As for Rentzheimer, he admitted that Monday's win was an important one for his team's confidence going forward.
"Of course you don't want to go down 0-2 to these guys," said Rentzheimer. "We have kept preaching to the kids that we are a good baseball team. We lost a couple extra-inning games. We lost to a very good Liberty club the other day.
"We had a long talk last week. I said that maybe we have a little bit of a District 11 hangover. Maybe we thought it was going to be easy. By no means by beating Lehighton do I think that is over because tomorrow is a new day. Good teams come ready to play every day. That's what we need to do right now."
Lehighton 100 00 - 1 3 1
Pleasant Vy 135 5x - 14 9 1
Wenrich, Farole (3), Storm (4) and Nalesnik; Agosta, Cetnar (5) and Weisment. W - Agosta. L - Wenrich.