By Cory Nidoh
Asst. Sports Editor
Not only will the East Stroudsburg University baseball team say goodbye to 10 seniors this May, they also saw their 2013 PSAC Title defense fade away as ESU couldn’t find a way to earn one more victory in order to clinch a berth in the PSAC Tournament this season as they lost to the visiting Kutztown Golden Bears by the scores of 9-1 and 5-3.
Coming off just their second PSAC Championship title in school history, the Warriors needed to win just one of the two games on the final day of the season to get themselves into the playoffs.
However, Kutztown was too tough to overcome as the Golden Bears took three out of the four games this past weekend to earn a spot in the tournament.
In the first game, it was all Kutztown as they pushed nine runs across on 13 hits. The Warriors needed to use five pitchers in the game to bridge together the gap, as the starter Matt Smith just tossed one inning.
The visitors would push a run across in the first inning and a pair of runs in the second before putting up 5 in the third where nine batters came up to the plate making it 8-0.
Kutztown would score another run in the fifth inning while the lone run for ESU came in the bottom of the seventh from Drew Hercik’s sacrificial fly, giving the game its final score.
With more added pressure on the Warriors, because of their must-win situation, ESU wasn’t able to get the win as two late runs for Kutztown proved too much to overcome in the 5-3 loss.
The Golden Bears opened the second game off strong as they scored a trio of runs in the opening inning to take an early 3-0 lead.
The Warriors, however, would get back in the ball game as senior Nico Delerme scored on senior Mike Tenaglia’s sacrifice fly to make it a 3-1 game.
The following inning, the Warriors would score a pair of runs with two outs as the heart of the order came through for ESU.
Senior Chris Knott started the rally with a double. Delerme then followed with an RBI single which plated Knott.
Then, senior Eric Forth tripled home Delerme tying the game up at 3-3.
However, the Golden Bears would tack on the go-ahead run in the fifth and an insurance run in the sixth to put the dagger into the Warriors season as the Warriors fell short 5-3.
The Warriors celebrated the hard work and dedication of ten of their seniors including shortstop Eric Linares, first baseman Mike Tenaglia, catcher Nico Delerme, center fielder Chris Knott, Eric Forth, and pitchers Matt Smith, Ryan Lubreski, Colin Taylor, Max Mueller, and Keenan Stare.
Knott, perhaps one of the best players in ESU history, had a record setting year as he set seven school records.
He now paces the record books in doubles (46), triples (16), home runs (19), extra-base hits (81), total bases (344), RBI (146) and games played (189).
Along with etching his name into ESU lore, he also led the PSAC in extra-base hits, and total bases.
Delerme followed Knott in the ESU lineup all season long and had a very productive season offensively as he was in the top two spots in multiple offensive categories.
The senior catcher was first in average hitting to the tune of .437, tied for the league lead in RBI with 44 and led the conference in walks with 37. He was second in on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
To add to how great of an offensive season Delerme had, he reached base in all 45 games this season.
Linares finished his career as a .235 hitter in two seasons with 37 RBI and finished with a .935 fielding percentage.
Forth, who played in all four seasons finished his career as a .319 hitter serving as a catcher, outfielder, and designated hitter.
He had 79 RBI in his career with a trio of home runs.
Tenaglia, culminated his career hitting .290 in two seasons with five home runs and 59 RBI.
Stare, who had five saves just this year, set the ESU record for career saves this season.
He earned his 11th save of his career passing Ryan Beck, who set the record back in 2010-12.
Lubreski, a DI transfer, pitched two years for ESU posting a career 13-4 record with a 3.04 ERA.
He had seven complete games and served as the ace of the staff this season. Smith finished with an 8-9 record and a 4.44 ERA in two seasons for the Warriors.
Mueller, saw action in three years as he posted a 2-1 record with a 4.46 ERA coming out of the bullpen.
Taylor made 53 appearances going 4-1 in 2013 with a sub 2.50 ERA. He finished with a 5-4 record with a 3.31 ERA.
The Warriors finished the season 28-17 and 14-14 in conference play and with the 28 wins, it marks the fifth seasons with 25 or more victories in the last six years under head coach John Kochmansky.
The Warriors will need to fill the void of their best two hitters, two solid starters and a closer for next season as they look to bounce back and return to the PSAC Tournament.
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