Upper Perk's Zach Kern slides across home plate in front of Perkiomen catcher Joseph DeLosSantos as he tries to tag him with the ball in last Thursday's game at Upper Perk.
Usually when the Perkiomen School Panthers and the Upper Perkiomen High School Indians hook up on the baseball field it’s a hard-fought, well-played, close ball game with the victor squeaking out a one-run win.
Last Thursday when the two schools met at Bonekemper Field, the tradition of hard-fought continued. Well-played, however, was at times in question.
Whether by necessity or choice, both coaches fielded starting lineups that featured multiple reserve players and, in the end, both coaches would experience the best and worst their ball clubs had to offer over the course of the seven-inning affair.
Brendan Fitzgerald got the start for the Tribe and fared much better than he did in his first PAC-10 start against the Boyertown Bears. After yielding a leadoff single to Joey Pena, Fitzgerald struck out two of the next three Panthers he faced. When the second inning came to a close, he had struck out five straight. Fitzgerald hurled the first four innings for the Tribe (4IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 6K, 0BB, 1HBP) and exited with a 6-1 lead.
On the other side of the field, things had not gone well for Perkiomen starter Jose Marce. Vince Boyle got the Indians started as he opened the home half of the first with a single. Zach Kern drew a walk, and when Marce couldn’t field the sacrifice bunt that followed, it opened the flood gates for a four-run first inning for the Tribe.
Looking to get some work for the rest of his pitchers, Indians’ head coach Frank Mercon turned to the bullpen to open the fifth inning. Ian Benz got the call and thanks to some shaky defense, Benz would need to face all nine Perkiomen hitters before bringing the inning to a close.
Perkiomen took advantage of the Indian miscues to make it a 6-4 game heading to the sixth inning.
Frank Chang led off the sixth the same way he had opened the fifth for the Panthers with a base hit, this one off the Tribe’s third pitcher of the day. Two walks and a hit batter later, the Indians were on pitcher number four. By the time the inning ended, Perkiomen had battled back to take a 7-6 lead.
The Tribe, though, would come back. A pair of walks opened the sixth inning. A successful sacrifice by Kyle Fox put runners on second and third with one out. Singles by Benz, James Boyle, and Vince Boyle would eventually result in another four-run inning for the Tribe and a 10-7 lead.
Perkiomen plated a run in the seventh and loaded the bases, forcing Mercon to make yet another call to his bullpen that brought pitcher number five to the mound for the Indians.
Perkiomen cleanup hitter Axel Rivera was robbed of a game-tying base hit when Indians’ third basemen Ryan Harris speared the hot shot to end the game, giving the Tribe a 10-8 win.
Noah Kauffman worked 4.2 innings in relief for Perkiomen. Esteban Martinez tripled and Naquan Holden doubled for the Panthers. Chang and Pena each had two hits.
Upper Perk got a triple from Zach Kern. Vince and James Boyle each had a pair of hits while Mitch Siwy reached base in all four plate appearances, scoring three runs.