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PV eliminated from tourney

COPLAY - After working their way through pool play with a perfect 3-0 record and having outscored their opponents 23-1, you had to figure that Pleasant Valley would put up some runs against Pennridge and the Rams would have trouble scoring some runs.

Hopefully, you didn’t bet on that as Pennridge pulled off the upset and downed the Bears 5-0, eliminating Pleasant Valley from the St. Luke’s Lehigh Valley High School Baseball Tournament on Friday.

Neither team came out swinging and four of the first five Pleasant Valley hitters went down on strikes at the hand of Pennridge pitcher Aiden Fretz.

The Bears didn’t get their first hit until Domonic Payan led off the fifth with a bunt single and then moved up a base on a passed ball. One out later, Jake Gethen singled to left and Payan rounded third and charged for the plate. The throw took catcher Derek Gordon into the basepath to make the play, resulting in a collision at the plate. The umpire ruled Payan out for colliding with Morgan, which also resulted in an ejection from the game.

“It was just one of those things where both players were doing what they had to do,” said PV head coach TJ Murphy. “He’s [Payan] not one of those players who would do something like that on a normal play. I wasn’t out there to argue, I was out there to make sure that their guy was okay because he really took a shot.”

Fretz worked out of the inning without allowing a run.

Pleasant Valley also threatened in the sixth when Dallas Greenzweig drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a groundout and then went to third when Ryan Purgar singled. A walk to Greg Masker loaded the bases and pushed Fretz out of the game. Harry Haeflein came on in relief and got a fly ball to end the inning.

“You have to give credit to their pitcher [Fretz], because he’s a good pitcher,” said Murphy. “He pitched really well today and made things tough on our hitters. We have some guys who can hit the ball and he was able to keep them in check today, for the most part.”

Brandon Ratti got the start for the Bears and retired the first six batters that he faced. Paul Croyle led off the third with a hit and two outs and a stolen base later, scored on a double by Kyle Moran, giving the Rams a 1-0 edge. Pennridge tacked on two more in the sixth when it collected a single and two doubles to open the inning before Mychal Kearns came on and retired the next three batters.

PV didn’t go down easily in the final inning, thanks to a two-out double by Kearns, but Pennridge got out of the inning without allowing any damage.

BRIGHT FUTURE … Murphy acknowledged that the tournament was primarily to give seniors a good send-off, but he also got to see some of the young players he will have next spring. The first-year coach came away pleased with the effort he saw from the seniors and underclassmen. “We have eight seniors, six were on our roster, and there are good players who we’re going to miss,” said Murphy. “I like what we have going forward with these young guys. I told the team that this is the passing of the torch from those seniors to the younger guys. It’s their job to grab it and go.”

REALLY? ... Both teams had issues with the strike zone throughout the game. The home plate umpire was calling high strikes and gave a wide interpretation of the plate. To be fair, he maintained the zone from the first pitch to the last and for both teams.

Pennridge 001 202 0 - 5 9 0

Pleasant Vy. 000 000 0 - 0 4 2

Fretz, Haeflein (6) and Morgan; Ratti, McEvoy (5), Kearns (6), Greenzweig (7) and Greenzweig, Meitzler (7). W - Fretz. L - Ratti.

Pleasant Valley starter Brandon Ratti delivers a pitch during Friday's Lehigh Valley Baseball Tournament game. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS