Oley Valley tops Kutztown for Berks baseball championship

Photo by Aimee Herbert The Oley Valley High School baseball team celebrates a championship.

Thanks to some amazing pitching, the Oley Valley High School baseball team ended a 28-year championship drought. Nick Distasio threw a three-hit shutout last Wednesday, May 15, in the Berks League championship game against Kutztown, leading his team to a 5-0 victory. It was Oleys Berks League first championship since 1985.

It was pitching that did the trick for Oley Valley. The Lynx staff allowed just two runs in the three playoff games this spring, Hamburg getting both of them in the semifinal round contest.

But it was Distasio who saved the best for last as he went the distance in Oleys championship victory over Kutztown. In addition to allowing just three Kutztown hits, he walked only one and fanned six Cougar batters.

The game was scoreless until Oley broke onto the board with two runs in the bottom, of the fourth. Matt Fishers RBI double gave Oley a 1-0 lead and Damian Mace drove Fisher in with a squeeze bunt.

As it turned out, that was all Oley would need, but they added three more insurance runs in the sixth inning. Fisher, Tim Brill (double) and Jay Kerkeslager each knocked in a run in the inning.

The Lynx had eight hits in the game, including three from Kerkeslager. He drove in a run and Fisher drove in two.

The Lynx began the tournament on May 9 with a quarterfinal match-up against Twin Valley. Distasio got some help this time as reliever Garrett Pelko picked up a save in Oleys 1-0 victory.

Distasio went 4 2/3 innings when cramps in his arm forced him out of the game. He allowed just two hits but found himself in trouble several times due to issuing six walks in the game. Pelko came in to pitching 2 1/3 innings of one-hit ball, walking just one and fanning five.

The Oley offense struggled as well, as they got just three hits in the game. But they took advantage of a throwing error in the bottom of the second to score the only run of the game.

The win sent them to the semifinals where they took on Hamburg. After pitching 2 1/3 innings on Thursday, Pelko came back and pitched a stong game on Monday. He allowed two runs on six hits and two walks in a complete game to lead the Lynx to a 4-2 victory. He struckout nine Hawk batters.

Hamburg started the game with a lead-off home run in the top of the first by Brandon Fry to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. But Oley came right back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning.

Tim Brill tripled and later scored on a single by Distasio. Hunter Renninger singled home the second run to make it 2-1 Oley.

The Lynx made it 4-1 in the top of the third when Renninger singled home Collin Fesi and Craig Eidle. Hamburg scored its second run in the bottom of the inning but that was it. Pelko shut them down the rest of the way to record his seventh win of the season.