GRATERFORD >> Recovering from two stress fractures in her spine last winter, Perkiomen Valley’s Sela Fusco didn’t have a chance to try out for the varsity squad.
Now fully healed and in her sophomore season, Fusco offered a little glimmer of what she can do.
Tied at 2 with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Fusco made the most of her first varsity at-bat, hitting a pinch-hit single down the third-base line to bring in the eventual game-winning run as Perkiomen Valley ousted Boyertown, 3-2, in their PAC opener Wednesday afternoon.
“It was pretty nice to know that I could come back from a bad year last year and be able to show my ability and show what I can do to my coaches and my teammates,” Fusco said afterward.
The win starts the season off right for the defending District 1 Class 4A champions, which graduated a bevy of starters from their district tourney run including Ana Bruni, Emily Oltman and Kelsey Impink … all who are playing collegiate softball. The “new look” Vikings, both in makeup of lineup and in style (Vikings sported new alternate gray uniforms), hit some bumps in the first inning but behind starting pitcher Abby Wild, settled down the rest of the way.
Nothing not to be expected by head coach Dan McLaughlin.
“Abby pitched well for it really being the first time playing a game on a field this year,” McLaughlin said. “It’s kind of to be expected to struggle. I was kind of worried about that and the worries were supported early on. We hung together. You can see how many kids we used today. We lost a lot of firepower last year and one or two kids isn’t going to replace what we lost. It’s going to take everybody. Everyone has to be ready and do their job, whether it be pinch running or pinch hitting. Just like Fusco.”
Fusco’s hit dampened the day for first-year head coach Kim Musselman and Boyertown. The Bears staked themselves a 2-1 lead in the first behind two steals from Sarah Reinert, an error on a botched first-and-third defensive play by the Vikings that allowed her to score, and a perfectly executed safety squeeze by Alyssa Acker that scored Lauren Ferguson. From there, however, the Bears couldn’t string together any hits, only advancing a runner to second twice in the next five innings.
“I thought we did phenomenal in the first inning but we couldn’t string any hits together,” Musselman said. “I was happy with how the girls played defensively. The first inning I was really excited, loved how they executed the squeeze play. It was a good game, I was happy with it.”
Wild, overcoming a rocky start, looked in good form the rest of the way. The senior righty retired the side in order in four of the next six innings and benefitted from Jess Ott’s RBI liner to right that tied it 2 in the second inning. Her decision was in question until the impactful sixth, where Ashley Bangert reached on an error by the center fielder. Fiona Warren, pinch running for Bangert, was moved over to third by a sacrifice bunt by Brittany Donigan and a groundout by Taylor Hamm before Fusco hit a grounder that went underneath the glove of the Boyertown third baseman before going over the bag.
Wild finished with eight strikeouts and allowed three hits in her complete-game effort.
Boyertown starter Emily Bradley went all seven, allowing three runs (two earned) with three strikeouts and three walks. Veronica Maryanski had two hits in the loss.
Elsewhere around the PAC
Pope John Paul II 10, Phoenixville 0 >> Ashley Remington pitched a shutout as the Panthers won in five innings in PAC Frontier play.
Remington threw all five innings, surrendering two hits while striking out three.
PJP took an early lead in the first inning via a two-run single by Hope Robinson before adding two more runs to make it 4-0 after one. Following a two-run second, PJP’s Maria Cotellese delivered a timely RBI single as the Golden Panthers scored another four runs in the inning to walk away with the mercy-rule victory.
Phoenixville’s Aubrey Valenteen and Jess Eldridge had the only hits for the Phantoms.
Spring-Ford 10, Methacton 0 >> The Rams got their PAC slate started in fine fashion as each of their players in the starting lineup scored a run en route to a win over the Warriors in Liberty Division play.
Sam Lindsay’s double and three RBI was a bright spot for the Rams, who led 9-0 after three before adding the game-ending run in the fifth. Morgan Maziarz finished with two RBI, same as Megan Kern.
Lindsay allowed one hit in five innings while striking out three and walking one.
Owen J. Roberts 15, Norristown 0 >> Camryn Glenn finished with two hits (including a triple and double), two runs and three RBI as the Wildcats made easy work of the Eagles in a three-inning victory.
Brianna Smith (double) finished with two RBI and two runs with Darby Stuart adding two hits and two runs as the Wildcats scored seven in the first inning followed by an eight-run second. Casey Walker (two hits, two runs), Bridget Guinan (two runs), Nicole MacMullin (two hits, two runs), Mia Flavin (one hit, one run) and Emily Shaheen (one hit, one run) all had big contributions in the win.
Pottsgrove 15, Pottstown 0 >> Pottsgrove downed the Trojans in Frontier Division play.