The Braves' Tyler Keyser turns to dash back to base, as the Spring City third baseman makes a dive to grab a foul ball in Tuesday night's Twin County League playoff.
Everything seemed to be going right for the Upper Perkiomen Braves in their first-round playoff game against visiting Spring City last Tuesday night.
Everything, that is, until the seventh inning.
In that seventh inning, the Braves, the No. 2 seed in the Twin County League, saw the two-run lead they held for four innnings evaporate. Spring City, seeded third, struck for five runs in the frame, which proved the difference and resulted in a 6-3 victory for the Red Sox.
With the loss, the Braves are still alive in the double-elimination league playoffs. The Braves faced Norchester in a game last night, too late for this paper's deadline. Norchester, the No. 4 seed, fell to top-seeded Boyertown Tuesday night. In three meetings this season, Upper Perk has fallen to Norchester each time. Three runs or less decided two of those three games.
The Braves' loss to Spring City overshadowed a solid pitching effort by Trey Livingstone. He scattered five hits throughout the first six innings and didn't allow a base runner past third, using his off-speed pitches well to keep hitters honest.
In the seventh inning, the Red Sox, though, were simply able to find the holes. A single to right, bloop single to left and a gapper to left-center from the first three batters put the visitors within one, 3-2, and they then took the lead on a bunt and two-run double – all with no outs.
Offensively, the Braves' bats weren't prolific, but rather timely. Upper Perk scored its first two runs in the bottom of the first as leadoff batter David Gehman singled to right and Livingstone bunted for a hit. Brett Fullerton drew a walk to load the bases, and Nolan Graber's ground out was enough to drive in a run on a throwing error. Catcher Ben Tryon came on later in the frame with a sac fly to right that drove in Fullerton for a 2-1 lead.
And that's the way it stayed until the bottom of the third when Upper Perk added a lone run off an RBI single to left from Tryon, who plated Graber. Livingstone, meanwhile, tacked up five scoreless innings to put the Braves in good position.
The Braves finished with three hits, all singles, with Tyler Keyser accounting for the other – an infield hit in the bottom of the second. In their previous three meetings with Spring City during the regular season, Upper Perk held a 2-1 edge.
"We did the little things right early and produced runs by bunting and base running," Braves manager Perry Breyer said. "We played our game and it paid off, and Trey was cruising."
Defensively, the Braves turned a heads-up 6-4-3 double play in the first inning, capped off by a scoop at first by Graber. Graber flashed his glove again in the sixth inning, as he went down to snag a throw from third to get an out against Spring City's Ethan Hellberg. Keyser followed with a hustle play against the next batter as he tracked down a bloop single to left from his spot at third base.
And now, with just one loss away from the end of the season, Breyer said the reality has set in as only the top two teams in the league will push on to the regional tournament.
"We're one and out now," Breyer said. "We have to put everything on the table and hopefully live to play a third game."