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Bears advance in LV tourney

EASTON - With a playoff berth already secured in the Lehigh Valley High School Baseball Tournament, Pleasant Valley head coach TJ Murphy decided not to use his best pitchers in the final game of pool play Thursday.

As it turns out, his other pitchers are pretty good too.

Zach Walters and Ben Mostosky combined on a three-hit shutout at Fairview Park as the Bears blanked Stroudsburg, 6-0, to complete pool play with a 3-0 record.

The victory sends PV into the round of 16, where they’ll be the No. 2 seed. Murphy’s club is scheduled to face Pennridge 11 a.m. on Friday at Sammy Balliet Stadium in Coplay. A win over the Rams would earn the Bears a matchup against either Notre Dame or Central Catholic in the quarterfinals, slated for 5 p.m.

“I think Zach had some nerves early, but he settled in and threw nice,” said Murphy, whose team won the three pool games by a combined score of 23-1. “He’s a kid we’re going to count on as we move into next season. Our other kid we threw, Ben Mostosky, was fantastic ... He was composed, worked ahead and stayed ahead. It was nice to see those two guys come and throw for us and keep some of our aces, as you will, keep them available for tomorrow.

“It was a big deal (for the two pitchers to pitch well). We now have Brandon Ratti, Dallas Greenzweig, Danny McEvoy, Mychal Kearns all ready (to pitch) tomorrow. They’re all available and they’re all ready.”

They’re also all hoping to have similar results to what Walters and Mostosky did against the Mounties.

Walters walked the first two batters of the game but got out of the jam with two flyouts and a caught stealing. He went on to toss three more innings, allowing just one hit while striking out seven.

“I was happy with my effort,” said Walters. “I started off a little rough but slowly got it together and we worked it out. I started to feel a lot better after the first inning was over. Getting a lead also helped.”

The Bears gave their hurler an advantage to work with in the home first. Brandon Ratti led off with a walk and stole second and third. Danny McEvoy drove home Ratti with a single to left.

One inning later, Pleasant Valley extended the margin to 3-0. Kory Kearns and Mychal Kearns hit back-to-back doubles to account for one run, while McEvoy’s fly to left dropped in for an RBI single.

Mychal Kearns, the team’s No. 9 hitter, also contributed to the Bears’ three-run fifth frame that put the game away. Chris Frable’s RBI infield single made it 4-0, while Jack Smale chased home another run with a sacrifice fly. Kearns added his second run-scoring hit of the day with an RBI single.

“I see more fastballs, so it’s a win-win for me,” said Kearns about hitting at the bottom of the lineup. “I’m just happy to fill my spot on the team and make a positive impact whenever I can.”

“Mychal Kearns is just a fantastic kid,” said Murphy. “To see him have success - put the bat on the ball and drive in some runs - is exciting for him and it’s exciting for us. Michael did a great job and hopefully he can continue to do that for us.”

Mostosky continued to mow down Stroudsburg hitters after Walters left the game. The tall right-hander, who was just a freshman this past school year, did allow two hits in his two innings of work, but also struck out three to secure the shutout.

“Anytime we play Stroudsburg, we want to get a win,” said Murphy. “We did secure a spot (beforehand) but when you look across the diamond and you see Stroudsburg over there, you know it’s a rivalry and we wanted to get after it so it’s nice to get a win against them. Also, it secured the No. 2 seed. Without giving up a run, it allowed us to get the two seed and that’s big.

“We have the attitude of one game at a time, but we have a really good group of seniors who give us everything they’ve got, so we look forward to competing one at a time and hopefully we kind find ourselves in the championship Monday.”

DON’T STEAL ON ME ... Both Stroudsburg runners that attemped to steal were gunned down by PV catcher Greenzweig. The first one came in the first inning with runners on first and third, when teams usually concede the stolen base.

GAME OVER ... The game was called in the bottom of the sixth inning, in accordance with the tournament’s two-hour limit.

LOOKING AHEAD ... The four teams left standing after Friday’s action will play in the semifinals Sunday at Coca-Cola Park. The championship game will take place Monday, also at Coca-Cola Park.

Stroudsburg 000 000 - 0 3 1

Pleasant Vy. 120 030 - 6 8 1

Sparks, Drozal (1), Verella (3), Sodl (5) and Kirby; Walters, Mostosky (5) and Greenzweig. W - Walters. L - Sparks.