Perkiomen catcher Grant Templeton grabs a throw to the plate moments before tagging out the Pottstown runner attempting to score in last Friday night's home playoff game.
After winning one of their two opening round games in the Bux-Mont American Legion baseball playoffs, Perkiomen Post 184 made the trip to Quakertown last Saturday to face the league's regular season champion Nor-Gwyn Hawks in an elimination game. When the game ended, Perkiomen had been reminded why the Hawks had taken the regular season title as they defeated the locals by a score of 12-6.
Perkiomen's struggles began right from the start with pitcher Brendan Fitzgerald facing only three batters before being replaced on the mound. Fitzgerald, who just couldn't get loose, issued a pair of walks to go along with a strikeout to the three batters he faced.
Fortunately for Perkiomen, head coach Mike Fitzgerald was aware of his starter's struggles as he took the mound and had Glenn Boyer already warmed up and ready to take the hill.
Boyer also got off to a slow start walking the first two batters he faced giving the Hawks an early 1-0 lead. Matt Hoy followed with a line drive that was speared by Perkiomen first baseman Eric Stalford. Stalford turned his catch into an inning-ending double play, bringing a halt to the Nor-Gwyn rally.
Perkiomen battled back, and after leaving the bases loaded in the second, they finally got to Hawks starter Brian Mayer in the top of the third. Five hits and an error produced three runs, and Perkiomen took a 3-1 lead into the fourth inning.
A pair of base running mistakes prevented Perkiomen from increasing its lead to 5-1. When the Hawks bats erupted in the home half of the fifth inning, the mistakes proved costly as Nor-Gwyn would score four times to take a 5-3 lead.
Adam Ney took the mound for Perkiomen in the sixth inning and got two quick outs, but when Mike Pulli reached on an error, the flood gates opened. The Hawks would score two runs in the inning, and five more in the seventh, all of which would be unearned.
Trailing 12-4 Perkiomen would attempt to rally one last time in the top of the eighth inning, but the two runs produced by four more Perkiomen hits barely put a dent on the Hawks lead and the game ended with Nor-Gwyn claiming the 12-6 victory.
"I'm disappointed," said Perkiomen head coach Mike Fitzgerald after the game. We certainly didn't want our season to end with this type of game. We're not the team that the score board says we are. Today's a tough day, but looking back it was a pretty good year. We had our ups and downs like any team does, today was certainly a down day. I'm proud of the team and how they competed they battled all year and played every game to the final out regardless of the score."
Most of the Perkiomen roster will be eligible to return next season, but for players like Zach Zappo, who saw their careers come to an end Saturday, it was a little more difficult knowing there is no more next year.
"It hasn't really hit me yet that it's over. Probably tomorrow it will hit me that my days playing for Upper Perk are over. I wish I had played a little better today, but it was a really good year. If this does end up being the last game I play I'll look back and be glad that it was with these guys."
Perkiomen banged out 15 hits in the game with Josh Fell, Tom Aaron and Daulton Breyer each recording three. Fitzgerald also had a multiple hit effort going 2-5. Boyer (4.2IP-5H-4R-3ER-1K-3BB) took the loss.
Perkiomen opened the tournament with a 2-1 loss to Pennridge last Thursday. Devon Crossin (5IP-4H-2R-1ER-4K 2BB) suffered the loss. Tom Aaron (2-3) and Zappo (2-2 1R) led the offense.
Last Friday Perkiomen rallied for two runs in its final at bat to defeat Pottstown 4-3. Pottstown had taken the lead in the top half of the seventh on a double by J.T. Mullen that scored Sage Reinhart. Perkiomen tied the game when Levi Stoudt drew a bases loaded walk that plated Stalford, and Josh fell singled to right on the first pitch he saw scoring Zach Miller with the game winner. Stoudt (7IP-8H-3R-3ER-4K-3BB) picked up the win.
Perkiomen finished the regular season with a 9-11 record in the Bux-Mont league, which earned them a No. 6 seed in the playoffs.