The Kutztown baseball team anticipated having a hard time winning Berks IV with Holy Name and Wyomissing supplying a good challenge.However, the Cougars ended up winning the division with a 10-4 league and 15-8 overall record, holding off the Blue Jays, who advanced to win their second straight District 3 Class A title.
"Our big question mark was pitching," Kutztown Coach Tim Mertz said. "I wasn't sure when the pitchers would step up. We had real good pitching in the beginning of the season."
Key early season wins came against Fleetwood, 9-2, on March 29, Holy Name, 1-0, on April 3 and Schuylkill Valley, 7-5, on April 16.
In Kutztown's first meeting with Holy Name, Chris Moyer threw a two-hitter against Matt Magrann.
Previously against Fleetwood, Moyer earned his second varsity win with another complete game performance.
Another key victory came when the Cougars rallied from a 4-0 deficit against Oley Valley to win the game, setting them up to possibly clinch a Berks playoff spot against Tulpehocken.
Unfortunately, the 3-2 loss against the Trojans on April 30 forced Kutztown to try to clinch against Wyomissing. When they lost to the Spartans, the Cougars finally closed the deal by beating Central Catholic.
In the county playoffs, Kutztown lost 3-1 to Wilson in the quarterfinals before starting play in the District 3-AA Tournament with a 9-7 win over Tulpehocken on May 19.
Down 6-3, Mertz tried a pitching strategy. "When Brock Krumanocker, our starting pitcher, was roughed up in the third, I brought in Chris Moyer, who allowed only one run in the seventh."
This strategy kept both pitchers eligible for Delone Catholic, the Cougars' opponent in the district quarterfinals.
Kutztown avenged an 8-6 loss to Delone during the regular season by jumping on its opponent with one run in the second and four more in the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, the Cougars continued to pour it on by scoring three runs to make it 8-0. Brett Hauck, Steve Motika and Andrew Miller all contributed two hits each to fuel the offense.
"Against Delone, we turned four double plays, stole bases and executed hitand-runs," Mertz said. "We could do no wrong."
In the district semifinals on May 27, however, the Cougars had a hard-time doing anything right in the first as they committed four errors that plated four runs.
Kutztown's leading hitters this season were Motika, Krumanocker, Brett Hauck, Miller and Carey Green.
Motika led the Cougars with a.452 batting average. He also scored 24 runs and drove in 21 while collecting 10 doubles, one triple and one homer.
Krumanocker was named the Cougar Award Winner (baseball MVP). He hit.432, struck out only twice in 74 at bats, scored 19 runs and drove in 20. He also contributed eight doubles and three homers.
Brett Hauck also hit over.400, finishing with a.417 average. He led the team with 28 runs scored and collected 10 RBIs from the second spot in the batting order.
Miller hit.385 and struck out only four times in 78 at bats with 14 runs scored, 16 RBIs, eight doubles and a homer. Carey Green hit.381 with 27 runs scored and 19 RBIs in the leadoff spot. He also slugged five doubles, two triples and three homers. In steals, he went 10-for-10.
In the pitching department, Moyer went 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 63 innings. Krumanocker finished 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA. He struck out 45 in 46 innings.
"I will lose four seniors, three of whom were part of the core of our two district championships the last two years. We should be okay if I can find a catcher to step up and replace Motika."