Upper Perk third baseman Ryan Harris reaches to tag a Pottsgrove runner in last Thursday's home game against Pottsgrove. The Indians won that contest 7-5.
Despite allowing 13 hits to Indian batters, the Phoenixville Phantoms still found a way to put a damper on senior night, as they handed the Tribe a 9-6 loss last Friday in what was the final PAC-10 game for both teams.
Phoenixville had entered last Friday night’s contest with an 11-6 record, and a spot already secured in the PAC-10 final four playoffs.
Upper Perkiomen, on the other hand, had much more to play for, starting with a chance to send their eight seniors off with one last victory. A win and the Indians would avoid a losing record in league play, as they would end the season 9-9. Most importantly, a victory over the Phantoms could, and would, go a long way in helping the Tribe secure an invitation to the District I AAA baseball tournament which begins next week.
For a brief moment, it looked as though the game would unfold just as the Indians had hoped as they used a four run third inning to break a 1-1 tie, taking a 5-1 lead.
Vince Boyle started the rally when he picked up his second hit in as many at-bats. With two out Chad Force doubled, making the score 2-1. Ryan Harris then doubled home Force and when J.D. Ricapito's ball cleared the right field fence, it was suddenly 5-1 Indians.
The Tribe still had a chance for more as Ian Benz and Brendan Fitzgerald both singled. A walk to James Boyle loaded the bases, but the inning ended on a ground out and the lead remained at four.
The feeling of euphoria, however, would be short lived as the Phantoms would send 12 hitters to the plate, producing a six run fourth inning that erased the Trib'es lead and left the Indians staring at a two-run deficit. It was a deficit the Indians simply would not be able to overcome.
When the final out was made, it brought an end to a season that had produced several fantastic finishes, as well as a few tough losses. The Tribe had beaten the league’s top two teams in Boyertown and Spring-Ford. They also had let a six run lead get away at Methacton, and became last-place Pottsgrove's first victim.
“I still can’t figure it out," said Indian head coach Frank Mercon. "We play great one day and not so great the next. We beat the best teams in the league. When we came to play we could stay in there with anybody, we just had a few games where we just couldn’t put anything together."
Mercon and the Indians will find out tonight if their 8-10 record will be good enough to earn them a spot the District I tournament which begins next Tuesday.
According to the PAC-10 website, Chad Force finished twelfth in the league in hitting with an average of .369, going 24 for 65 with 15 RBI. Force had 16 more at-bats than the league leaders who hit .449.