Upper Perk's Heather Smith slides into home plate as Pottsgrove's pitcher waits to tag her out with the ball in Tuesday afternoon's home game.
It only takes one bad inning to change the momentum of a game, and that’s the tough lesson the largely young and inexperienced Upper Perk softball team learned Tuesday afternoon.
The Lady Indians got off to a good start against Pottsgrove, keeping the Falcons scoreless in the first two innings. The bottom of the first began with shortstop Casey Umstead blasting one to the back of center field and sliding into third, beating out a throw to the bag for a triple.
Pottsgrove’s pitcher went on to strike out the Indians’ second batter after two attempts at bunts went foul. Umstead had a close call on a pickoff attempt at third, after the first pitch to Meagan Quinn, but managed to make it back. She would get her revenge by sliding home safe on a sacrifice fly to left field by Quinn on the very next pitch for the first run of the game.
One popup into the glove of Pottsgrove’s catcher later, the Indians found themselves on defense again. But they would close out the top of the second just as fast as they did the first.
It was the third inning that turned the game around on Upper Perk.
The inning opened strong, with Umstead fielding a popup for an out. But Pottsgrove’s Gabi Ermish and Kacy Carroll would make their way on base, each lining the ball just over the infield. Jenna Trythall hit a double to deep right field next, batting Ermish in for a run, and Alexis Kehl knocked in two more runs with another double, this time high over Laura Frank’s head in left field.
Pottsgrove managed one more run in the inning, bringing the score up to an intimidating 4-1.
Pitcher Meagan Quinn had had a tired arm in the days leading up to the game, Upper Perk Head Coach Walt Schmidt said after the contest, but he had hoped she would “perk up” on Tuesday.
While she pitched strong the first two innings, she was having a hard time keeping up steam in the third, with all of Pottsgrove’s runs coming from big hits.
“We’re just not getting the good snap on the ball the way we should from our pitchers,” Schmidt said.
And while the other Quinn sister, Lynsey, kept the Falcons from scoring in the fourth when she took the mound, Upper Perk couldn’t seem to find any footing at bat again.
The game ended in a 6-2 loss for the Indians, coming right on the heels of a 7-1 loss at Phoenixville the day before.
“That has been one of our problems the last couple of years,” Schmidt said. “We have that one bad inning, and then we can’t recover.”
“Over at Owen J. Roberts, after the first three innings, I mean we played even with them,” he said of the team’s 8-0 blanking by the Wildcats Thursday. “And hopefully, I guess our goal is to improve the second half.”
The loss at Owen J. saw all of the Wildcats’ runs come in the first three innings, while the Indians kept them at bay in the last three with a 6-3-5 double play and two line drives speared by Umstead.
Schmidt said he chalks a lot of the team’s problems up to inexperience. That isn’t hard to believe with a team that’s starting four or five freshmen every game.
The Pottsgrove batters’ luck with hitting the ball into gaps in the field also hurt the Indians throughout the game.
“When it rains it kind of pours that way,” Schmidt said.
Upper Perk is now 1-6 in league play.