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Clutch pitching key in major victory

Weis, Klag and Verost lead PV to tenth straight victory

Riley+Weis+started+for+PV+against+St.+Joe%27s+and+surrendered+just+three+hits+in+three+innings+of+work+as+the+Indians+knocked+off+New+Jersey%27s+No.+1+team.%2C+St.+Joseph%27s+Regional.
Riley Weis started for PV against St. Joe's and surrendered just three hits in three innings of work as the Indians knocked off New Jersey's No. 1 team., St. Joseph's Regional.

Riley Weis started for PV against St. Joe's and surrendered just three hits in three innings of work as the Indians knocked off New Jersey's No. 1 team., St. Joseph's Regional.

Stephanie Perini

Stephanie Perini

Riley Weis started for PV against St. Joe's and surrendered just three hits in three innings of work as the Indians knocked off New Jersey's No. 1 team., St. Joseph's Regional.

Jake Aferiat, Sports Editor

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On paper and to the general public, it may have seemed like a David vs. Goliath matchup.

Luckily for Pascack Valley though, games are decided on the field and not on paper or by the general public.

The Indians (10-1), were taking on St. Joseph’s Regional (13-1), and the Green Knights were ranked No.1 in the state by both NJ.com and News 12 Varsity, but on the back of clutch pitching and timely hitting, PV emerged victorious by a score of 6-2 on Friday.

“This is a big win for us as a program,” Pascack Valley coach Will Lynch said. “We’ve been playing pretty good baseball lately and it gives us good footing and shows that we can play with anybody.”

But it wasn’t just anybody the Indians would have to contend with.

Coming into the game, St. Joe’s had won 13 in a row, outscored its opponents 92-27, and posted three shutouts.

Pascack Valley didn’t get the memo and never had a doubt as to what would happen.

After the Green Knights took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, PV came up to bat in the bottom half of the inning, and that’s when the floodgates opened.

Catcher Jack Devanna started the scoring for PV, roping a two-run double to right field with the bases loaded and no outs. From there, it was all PV as first baseman Carson Weis followed up with his own two-run double to make it 4-1. and eventually Riley Weis, who was also the game’s starting pitcher, helped his own cause and drew a bases loaded walk to make it 5-1.

The Indians would spot Weis one more run in the bottom of the first, before shutting down the St. Joe’s offense the rest of the way.

Weis went three innings, yielding just three hits, while also walking three batters and striking out one, and escaped a bases loaded jam down in the count 3-2, to close out his start. He was relieved by Jake Klag, who came in to start the fourth and whose three innings out of the bullpen proved to be the most important.

St. Joe’s pitcher Devin Ortiz left the game in the bottom of the first with a shoulder injury after diving trying to field a ball up the first base line.

Klag walked his first batter out of the bullpen, and then would eventually load the bases with only one out, putting St. Joe’s in prime position to mount a comeback.

“I was a little bit nervous,” Klag said. “Then I got one more out and Lynch told me to stay in the groove and stay focused.”

Lynch never lost confidence though.

“My mound visits with him were real simple,” he said. “Throw strikes and let us play defense behind you, and we’ll be okay.”

He ultimately escaped unscathed as he struck out the last two batters of the inning.

Nick Verost would enter to close the game out for PV in the top of the seventh inning, but not before St. Joe’s got another runner in scoring position after walking the second batter he faced.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Verost said. “He put a really good at-bat and I had to come in, get ahead early and throw strikes but I wasn’t doing that.”

Verost threw strikes when it mattered, as he struck out the next batter and then got a fly out to end the game.

And while the outside world may have viewed the win as an upset for the Indians, no one on Pascack Valley’s baseball team felt that way.

“I said to my players, ‘It’s only an upset if you don’t believe you can win,'” Lynch said. “We believed we could win, so I don’t characterize this as an upset.”

For more coverage and updates on PV’s baseball team, check out the Smoke Signal’s baseball blog. 

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Clutch pitching key in major victory