Upper Perk’s Kyle Saylor, playing second base, looks to turn a double play during a scrimmage against Souderton last Thursday.
Upper Perkiomen will kick off the 2012 PAC-10 baseball season Monday when second year head coach Frank Mercon takes his club on the road to face the Vikings of Perkiomen Valley.
The unusually warm weather has proven to be a real asset to area ball teams as they have spent a large portion of their practice time outside on the diamond, not in the gym. The biggest plus might be the live action scrimmages and non-league games that teams are getting to play before starting league play.
The Tribe got their first shot at live action last Thursday and things couldn’t have gone much better for the Indians.
Offensively, they collected eight base hits, but what may have pleased the head coach most was the fact that his pitching staff didn’t walk a batter in the full seven-inning contest.
“I was pleased with the quality of the at-bats for it being this early in the season said Mercon, but I was really pleased with our pitching performance. To not issue one walk over seven innings your first time out is almost unheard of.”
The Tribe may not be very deep in the pitching department, but the Indians will open the season with a very respectable one-two punch at the top of the rotation with seniors Chad Force and David Hoffman. With an experienced arm in Kyle Saylor coming out of the bullpen, the Tribe should be solid in the late innings as well.
Experience shouldn’t be an issue for the Indians this year as the team features eight seniors. Even though all eight may not land opening day starting spots, each will play key roles for the Tribe.
Depth, on the other hand, is a different story and could be Mercon’s number-one concern by the time opening day rolls around. “Right now our depth is probably my biggest concern. We are probably going to open the season with 13, maybe 14, guys on the roster. That doesn’t leave us with as many options as we might like. Hopefully we don’t have any early season issues that it becomes a factor.”
The Indians’ defense, according to Mercon, should be the team’s primary strength. With senior Devon Kerr expected to start at shortstop and Vince Boyle behind the plate, the Indians should be strong in the key spots.
A new bat rule, that has teams using only bats with the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) mark, has removed a good bit of ping from the plate and the Tribe may have opponents right where they want them as not many teams do small ball better than the Indians.
The Indians will host Pennridge in a non-league contest Friday at 3:45p.m., and then travel to Perkiomen Valley before their home opener Wednesday at 4 p.m. against Pope John Paul.
Last year the Tribe started the season 0-3 and collected only five wins the rest of the way - memories this squad would like to erase early. “In a tough league wins mean everything,” said Mercon. “Starting fast will give this team the confidence it needs for a successful season.”