Knights win behind Valenti’s shutout

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TOWAMENCIN- Joe Valenti put in another clinic on the hill and this time, the bats came through with offense from the bottom of the lineup and guys coming off the bench and coming through in the clutch.

The North Penn Knights (6-6) beat the CB East Patriots (7-8) 4-0 in Tuesday’s afternoon Autism Awareness Game.

“We’re even with East in the standings and that stuff doesn’t really matter.  The most important thing is how you go out and play the game.  You can look at the standings all you want but it’s just a distraction.  You just gotta go out and make plays.  Obviously, it all starts with getting a good starting pitching performance and Joe’s numbers speak for themselves.  There’s nothing I can say to make it sound any better,” Head Coach Kevin Manero said.

With the skies cleared and the sun glistening over the field, the lefty, Valenti, kept dealing the way he has all season as he got the complete game shutout in the win.  He finished only allowing 5 hits and no walks while striking out 3.  The biggest play of the game might have come in the top of third with Patriots on first and third and 2 outs.  Valenti used his tricky pickoff move to first as the runner broke to second.  1B Jake Morello threw home and got Nick Bitsko in a rundown and tagged him out to put an end to the inning.

“That was big to get the guy at third when he was coming home.  That kept them at zero and really set the tone for us and helped us move forward,” Valenti said.

But the recent struggles for the Knights had been coming from the plate and they found a spark today from senior RF Alex Gilbert who got the start Tuesday.  In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Gilbert delivered a 2-out RBI single on a 1-2 pitch to score the game’s first run.  Gilbert added a key infield single off a bunt that helped setup a bases-loaded opportunity later in the game.

“Before the game I was just really happy with coach texting me I was gonna play and start and I don’t know two strikes, I was ready, got back on it and a nice line drive.  That’s it, first run of the game,” Gilbert said.

The Knights got the insurance runs in the bottom of the 6th inning as they batted around and scored 3 runs on 4 hits.  Junior Alex Kee got into the game with a pinch-hit at-bat and came through with an RBI single.  Then senior C Jake Drelick hit a 2-RBI single to left field and the Knights were up 4-0 heading into the 7th inning.  Valenti shut the door closed in the 7th to finish off the win.

The Knights will be back in action at home Thursday against the Quakertown Panthers.

“Just one game at a time.  We can’t get too high on our highs, we can’t get too low on our lows and it’s one pitch at a time from here on out and it’s nice to have a couple home games this week, gotta take advantage of that and just keep grinding.  We don’t have a lot of room for error but we can’t worry about that.  We just have to keep playing baseball and one day at a time and just kinda see where you land at the end,” Coach Manero said.

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