PV Wins a Big Game in the Bottom of the 7th!

Shortstop, Dan Hrbek, charges a slow roller to make an excellent play in the field as PV went on to win 3-2 in seven innings

Shortstop, Dan Hrbek, charges a slow roller to make an excellent play in the field as PV went on to win 3-2 in seven innings

It wasn’t easy and it was just what the doctor ordered after a tough loss in their last game. PV went up 1-0 on an RBI single by catcher, James Shank. But the fightin’ Indians came back heartily to go up 2-1 in the middle innings.

First baseman, Jordan Caffrey, flips to pitcher, Howie Stevens to record the out.

First baseman, Jordan Caffrey, flips to pitcher, Howie Stevens to record the out.

Howie Stevens pitched a great game, pitching out of trouble in several innings to keep the game close. Without his effort, this game would most likely have ended up much differently. As it was, he pitched 6 strong innings by mixing an effective curve ball in with his fastball to keep hitters off balance just about every time it was needed.

Pitcher, Dan Hrbek, flips to first baseman, Howie Stevens, to record an out in the 7th inning. Hrbek threw hard and recoded outs on all three batters he faced.

Pitcher, Dan Hrbek, flips to first baseman, Howie Stevens, to record an out in the 7th inning. Hrbek threw hard and recorded outs on all three batters he faced.

Dan Hrbek came in to pitch the 7th inning with the game hanging in the balance, tied up 2-2. He threw hard stuff and recorded 2 Ks. His fastball was arguably as fast as its been all season. He was hitting his spots and throwing hard, which resulted in 3 up and 3 down in the top of the 7th inning. Then it was time for the PV Bears to have last dibs!

James Shank went 3-4. He lead off the 7th inning with a double down the 3rd base line.

James Shank went 3-4. He led off the bottom of the 7th inning with a double down the 3rd base line.

The bottom of the last inning was started off by a line drive double down the 3rd base line by James Shank. He rolled into the second, representing the potential winning run if PV could get him across the plate. Howie Stevens earned a walk and Troy Van Houten also earned a base on balls to load the bases with one out. Nick Domenici hit a fly ball to right field, but Shank did not tag up at third base, so the bases remained loaded with two outs. That brought up third baseman, Austin Yoffredo, who hit a wickedly spinning ball down the first base line. Somehow it snuck through the legs of the Lehighton first baseman. Shank crossed home plate and the Bears snagged the much needed victory!

James Shank celebrates the PV victory after crossing home plate.

James Shank celebrates the PV victory after crossing home plate.

PV Baseball Team Goes 11-2

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Pleasant Valley’s baseball team was propelled by James Shank as he went 2-3 at the plate and recorded 2 RBIs. Howie Stevens and Jordan Caffrey contributed well-placed hits in the line-up to score 6 runs in six innings.

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Dylan Pasnak, pitched a masterful 1-hitter to secure a solid defensive game and record the shut-out.

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In the above photo, #3 Adam Raseley is running to first base. PV’s record is now 11-2 for the season!

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Here, shortstop, Dan Hrbek, turns a self-assisted double-play as #13 Zack Werner slides into the second base for East Stroudsburg South.

Opening Day!

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Opening Day of the Pleasant Valley Baseball Season took place today at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, PA. The wind was blustery and cold, but there was excitement in the air as the 2013 Baseball Season got under way!

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Howie Stevens took the mound for the PV Bears. The senior pitcher mixed it up with fast balls, curves, and change ups. He provided a very solid performance for the first game of the season and went the distance!

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Dylan Frankenfield took the mound for Freedom and also pitched a great game! He overcame a slight defensive problem in the first inning and pitched out of the trouble. His complete game was very solid, too!

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The game was scoreless through three innings. Then Freedom put together a good inning when PV committed a few errors. Freedom mixed in some well-placed hits and scored three runs to take the lead.

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Frankenfield came to the plate later in the game and hit an rbi single to go up 4-0.

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PV made a valiant effort in the bottom of the last inning to make a sizable threat. Hits by Stevens, Hrbek and Domenici helped to put a crooked number up with only one out in the inning!

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The Bears produced three runs to make it a one-run game. What an exciting Opening Day for both teams!

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To view more photographs from today’s game click on the following links:

Pleasant Valley Baseball

Freedom Baseball

PV Wins a Thriller in the Rematch

It was a rematch from a week before–Pleasant Valley vs. Stroudsburg, and it was a thriller!

As sometimes happens, all the hard-fought battles came down to a few huge plays. A flea flicker, a field goal, and an interception were the big plays as PV fought to victory on Saturday night. It was a game for the ages!

The first big play of the game didn’t take long to develop. A flea flicker put the ball back in Leap’s hands and he threw a bomb to his receiver, Romeo. So began the rematch¬† and subsequent plays would not disappoint. PV scored three touchdowns in the 1st half, which was reminiscent of the previous week’s game when Stroudsburg did the same.

The battle was fought out in the trenches on the line of scrimmage. This is typical from two well-matched teams, but few fans ever notice the battles fought here. Most watch the quarterback, running backs, and receivers, as they focus on the ball. But without these battles being won, the big plays would never develop. Stroudsburg fought back twice to eventually tie the game at 21. PV’s kicker, Jordan Caffrey was called on to break the tie with a 28-yard field goal attempt. Here, in the photo below, all eyes were on that ball as it made its way toward the goal post. The kick was good and this would be the play that propelled PV to victory in this thrilling rematch!

Stroudsburg was not finished though. They put together a final drive with hopes of getting into field goal range before time ran out. But Romeo had other plans. Just as his big reception started off the scoring for the evening’s rematch, an interception late in the fourth quarter stopped the scoring and the final drive. It was then just a matter of running a few plays for PV as time ran out.

The scoreboard shows the vital statistics of a game, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. It does not, for example, show the preparation that goes into a game like this, nor does it show the hard work of each player on the line of scrimmage as they battle it out play after play. Still, the scoreboard does indicate the victor, and on this night PV would not be denied. The rematch was a thriller and lets PV continue playing deeper into the playoffs! You can view more photos of this game here.

Pleasant Valley Wins Over Allen High School in a Character Builder!

It took two nights, eight innings, and a come from behind rally to win, but Pleasant Valley won a character building game on Friday night!

Howie Stevens took the mound in a suspended game due to darkness the previous night. Allen had rallied from being three runs behind to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning. The game was called due to darkness with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs. This situation was inherited by Stevens to re-start the game on Friday. The first batter battled in the count and then drove a ground ball down the 3B line. PV’s Travis Van Houten made the play at the line and threw a bullet to first basemen, Chris Burke, to record the first out.

A walk in the inning and an errant pick-off attempt, left a runner at 2B. A stolen base and another error scored the first run of the evening, but it wouldn’t be the last. Stevens got out of the inning with good stuff and then it was PV’s turn to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning.

A walk to Connor Cardenas, started the inning. Cardenas was then awarded 2B when a pickoff attempt went past the first basemen, who then interfered with Cardenas. Cardenas was then awarded 2B. Adam Raseley lined out to center field, which brought catcher,¬† James Shank to the plate. After three straight fastballs, the count was even at 1-2. Then Shank crushed a ball over the left fielder’s head to get the game-tying RBI and send the game into extra innings!

Here Shank is celebrating as he coasted into 2B with a stand-up double.

Stevens again took the mound to start the top of the eighth inning. He rolled through the inning with only one walk. That runner stole second base and then got to third base. With two outs the Allen batter laid down a bunt to first base. The runner on 3B broke for the plate and 1B Chris Burke fired home. Shank put the tag on the sliding base runner for the final out!

Chris Burke was walked on four pitches to start the bottom of the eighth inning for PV.

Cardenas was hit by a pitch, so there were runners at 2B and 1B when Shank came to the plate again. Shank’s first swing was a bullet down the third base line, but foul. Then, with another crack of the bat, Shank hit a walk-off, game winning RBI single.

Burke scored the winning run and was mobbed by his teammates after crossing home plate.

Games like this can be nerve-racking, but they build character in a team. These players stuck together and overcame the obstacles to win the victory. It’s not always easy, but winning games in this fashion build character that can take a team to many more victories. Go Bears! To see all the photos of this game, click here.

Pleasant Valley vs. Notre Dame – Fall Baseball

Two good teams faced each other on October 8th in a baseball showdown. The fans were treated to a true fall spectacle as the teams battled it out in fall-like weather. The above photo shows the second baseman, Adam Raseley, throwing a runner out at first. He cleanly fielded the ground ball and made the throw to first to record the out.

Here, pitcher, Chris Burke, waits for the signs from the catcher with eager anticipation! He’s ready to get into his windup but he needs the sign first. You can see the 4-seam grip in his hand as he awaits the sign for the proper pitch. Then, if needed, a slight turn of the baseball gets him ready to deliver the pitch.

Connor Cardenas gets safely back into first base as the late tag is applied. Connor extended his lead on the next pitch and stole second base with ease!

This swing by James Shank produced a double that went to the fence.

Howie Stevens’ swing produced the game-winning RBI, to lift the Pleasant Valley Bears to a 1-0 victory in a closely contested and very competitive ballgame!

To see all the photographs of this game, click here.

New Photo of the Month

Now that May is over, I posted a new Photo of the Month on my Perfect Game Photos website.

Each month I sift through all my sports photos and present one of the best as the Photo of the Month. I then post the photo on the website and add a description about the photograph. This past month’s photograph is Pleasant Valley baseball player, Howie Stevens, laying down a bunt.

Bunting might seem rather mundane and unexciting, but look at the action in this photograph. The dust cloud coming off the bat dispels the rumor that bunting is boring. I believe the photo shows the drama and excitement in the ordinary bunt. What do you think?

This Photo is in the Running for Photo of the Month

This photo is the running! Each month I select my best shot of the month and give it the honor of “Photo of the Month” on my all-sports website, Perfect Game Photos.

Last month was easy because I captured a bat breaking as it was swung at and hit a baseball. I always try to get the ball in the frame because it shows the intensity and action of the game. This photograph I captured today shows the second baseman’s eyes focusing on the baseball as he is tracking down the ball to catch in his glove. One of the player’s feet are in the air as he is running it down. I love the action of this shot!

I am picky though and there is one bad part to this image and that is the background. There was a house behind the field and it usually shows up at the exact wrong time in an otherwise great photograph. Still, this is a quality shot and is now in the running for the honored spot for the month of April.

Winning Interviews

Pleasant Valley’s baseball team played a barn-burner against East Stroudsburg South this afternoon!

The game went back and forth until after 7 innings when the game was tied. Two extra innings were played and the score again went back and forth. It was an incredibly exciting game with lots of hits, two home runs, and much excitement!

In the end, PV came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth down by one run. They rallied to tie the score and then, with bases loaded, James Shank smoked a ball down toward third base. The fielder could not handle the hard hit and the winning run crossed home plate.

After the game was over, two Pleasant Valley players were interviewed by the local new station: Adrian Concepcion and James Shank. Victory is sweet any time, but that much sweeter when you share it with good teammates and when they try to make you laugh during an interview!

Fun with Collages

Yes, I confess; I am really having fun creating photo collages these days!

A combination of events contributed to this. One contributing factor is the photo shoots I’ve been fortunate to photograph this week. Pleasant Valley High School’s performance of Oklahoma and the baseball games are just two quick examples. Then, my brother, shared some tips on how to better create photo collages.

All this is helping the creative side of my photography interests and I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying this new-found challenge!

What do you think of this photo collage?