Share This Page

In midst of 7-game winning streak, Quakers relying on pitching, defense

| Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 10:03 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Quaker Valley's Ben Utterback drives in a run during a game against Brentwood on April 21, 2014 in Bell Acres.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Quaker Valley's Robert Kolessar (5) celebrates with Chris Tanabe after scoring on a wild pitch during their game against Brentwood Monday, April 21, 2014, in Bell Acres. The Quakers won, 12-2.

There's no identity crisis for the Quaker Valley baseball team as the 2014 season enters the stretch run.

The strength of the Quakers thus far — and the primary reason for their 10-2 overall record — has been a combination of effective pitching and stout defense. Offensively, they're doing enough to win games — seven straight games, in fact.

Quaker Valley (10-2, 8-2) has not lost a game since its first meeting with section rival Seton-La Salle (10-3, 8-2) on April 10. The Quakers and fifth-ranked Rebels are tied for second place in Section 1-AA behind third-ranked South Side Beaver (12-1, 9-1).

Quakers coach Todd Goble would like to see more consistent offensive production from his team, but he's comfortable with the brand of baseball his squad has been playing.

“As long as we're good at pitching and defense, that will keep us in games,” Goble said. “We need to be a smart, fundamental team.

“We know who we are and what we have to do.”

Quaker Valley's recent offensive woes can be attributed to taking too many good pitches early in at-bats, Goble said.

“It's about taking the right approach,” Goble said. “We've been getting ourselves into bad counts by taking too many pitches.

“We talk about it all the time in practice, but ultimately it's up to the players.”

Quaker Valley notched a pair of section victories last week — 6-0 at home against Freedom and 4-1 at Brentwood — both of which are vital in the team's late-season push to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.

Senior pitcher Ben Utterback earned the complete-game victory in the Brentwood win and hit a home run.

“He threw well,” Goble said of Utterback, who finished the game having thrown less than 100 pitches. “He was getting ahead of hitters and mixing his pitches.”

Quaker Valley's hitters did get the barrel of the bat on the ball a few times at Brentwood, but they didn't have much to show for it on the scoreboard.

“We hit some balls hard, but they were right at people,” Goble said.

Quaker Valley opened play this week a game back of South Side Beaver in the section standings. The Rams beat the Quakers, 3-0, in their first meeting April 9. The two teams are scheduled to meet again Wednesday afternoon at South Side Beaver.

“This week, we play all of the other teams in contention (for the playoffs),” Goble said. “We're playing all of the teams that are right there.

“This week will determine where we end up.”

Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.