Liberty edges Pleasant Valley
Pleasant Valley’s Nick Ciszak (left) tries to turn a double play as Liberty’s Marcus Nales slides into the base. MIKE FEIFEL/TIMES NEWS
Pleasant Valley took one of the premier baseball teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference to the last pitch on Tuesday before dropping a 3-2 decision.
The victory improved Liberty’s record to 12-1 on the season, but it wasn’t easy.
The Bears (9-4) got a two-out double down the left field line in the bottom of the seventh from Trevor Knappenberger, followed by a hard single to right by Nick Ciszak. With the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run on first, Kory Kearns lined out to shortstop to end the game.
After spotting the Hurricanes two runs in the top of the first on a single by Caleb Tereska, PV pitcher Tyler Horton allowed just one run on two hits over the next five innings to an explosive offense that had been averaging nearly 10 runs per game. Horton kept the ball down in the strike zone and was able to induce seven ground ball outs over that span.
“Tyler had a great mental approach on the mound,” said Pleasant Valley coach, Charlie Inserra, who said that his game plan to pitch to Liberty’s big bats was no different than for any other opponent. “He was a bulldog, and he kept attacking the strike zone.”
The Hurricanes’ starting pitcher, Jack Kraihanzel, gave up just a second-inning single to Matt Burnett and a third-inning bunt for a base hit to Brandon Ratti, along with five walks in his five-and-one-third innings of work.
The Bears scored their first run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Dan McEvoy that plated Mychal Kearns, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.
The home team scored its second run in the sixth when Ryan Pugar walked with the bases loaded on a full count to send home Ciszak, who worked out a one out walk. Down by one run with the bases juiced, Dallas Greenzweig was thrown out on a very close play at first after he bounced a ball to the shortstop.
Liberty coach, Andrew Pitsilos brought in Gabe Rodriguez to register a four out save, but not before the Bears threatened to tie and even win the game in the bottom of the seventh.
“We battled one of the best teams in the county for seven innings,” said Inserra. “A few costly errors and a walk bit us in the rear end, but we played strong and never gave up right to the last pitch of the game.”
TAKE TWO FOR THE TEAM … Pleasant Valley’s Miychal Kearns was hit by a pitch in two consecutive at bats, scoring one run and extending the Bears’ one run rally in the sixth inning.
TAMING THE BEAST … Against a team that had scored 46 runs in its previous five victories, PV’s Horton final mound stats were six innings pitched with three runs allowed on six hits. He struck out one.
Liberty 200 010 0 - 3 7 1
Pleasant Vy. 000 011 0 - 2 4 2
Kraihanzel, Gross (5), Rodrigues (6) and Borneman; Horton, Knappeneberger (7) and Greezwieg. W - Kraihanzel. L - Horton.