GRATERFORD >> Pat Hohlfeld was finally back in his rightful place on Monday afternoon.
After sitting out the early portion of the season while dealing with tendinitis in his throwing elbow, the senior right-hander made his first start since last spring’s PIAA Championship game.
And of course, he didn’t disappoint.
Benefitting from the Bears’ seven-run fourth inning, Hohlfeld went the distance in a 12-2 five-inning win over Perkiomen Valley.
“It’s good to be back,” the senior right-hander said with a wide grin afterward.
With the win, Boyertown moves to the top of the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Liberty Division at 5-2 (5-4 overall) while Perk Valley drops to 4-2 PAC and 4-3 overall.
The Vikings played it tight through the first three innings, but were ultimately done in by a combined eight errors committed over the final two frames. Boyertown rallied for seven runs in the fourth inning then followed with five more in the fifth to put it out of reach.
Hohlfeld looked to be in mid-season form from the get-go. He relied on a fastball-changeup combo throughout and threw 41 of his 56 pitches for strikes. Hohlfeld limited PV to only four hits — including a pair of doubles during the Vikings’ two-run fifth inning — to go along with no walks and a strikeout.
“Probably the most nervous I’ve been for a game in a while,” said Hohlfeld afterward. “I laid off (throwing) a lot of the breaking balls just to make it a bit easier on my arm. Coach was calling good pitches and I was hitting my spots.”
“It’s nice to have Pat back in there,” said Boyertown head coach Todd Moyer. “He’s got the maturity, the experience. Not having your experienced No. 1 from last year available makes for a challenge.”
Third baseman Tyler Kreitz finished 3-for-4 with a two-run triple on his way to three RBI and a run scored while second baseman Michael Raineri scored three times batting out of the leadoff spot. Shortstop Quinn Mason and center fielder Pat Maloney finished with two hits apiece.
Perk Valley starter Tyler Strechay turned in a quality start but didn’t get much help in the field behind him. Perk Valley committed six errors during Boyertown’s decisive seven-run two-out rally in the top of the fourth inning.
Strechay’s day finished up at four full innings pitched where he scattered seven runs (none earned) on six hits, a walk and a pair of strikeouts.
Head coach Ryan Hinkle called Monday’s forgettable error-filled loss a ‘complete 180’ from last week’s clean 2-0 win over Spring-Ford.
“It was a snowball effect,” he said. “One thing went wrong, and it just kept getting worse, and worse and worse. I told the guys postgame, Strech (Strechay) doesn’t deserve that.”
PV then committed two more errors in the top of the fifth inning as Boyertown crossed five more runs in the inning.
PV’s offense showed a little spark in the late goings. Moments after DJ Jampo lined a double to right-center field, Mark Ott ripped an RBI-double to left-center. From there, though, Hohlfeld shut the door forcing a groundout followed by a strikeout.
“This is just one of those games that you’ve gotta shake it off and look forward to the next one,” said Hinkle. “We’ve got a chance to see them (Boyertown) again at their place.
“Hopefully we can turn it around because they’ll have the same formula — they’re gonna put the ball in play and put the pressure on the defense. That’s what Boyertown does and they beat us at that game today.”
Bear The Brunt
Monday included, Boyertown has now beat Perkiomen Valley in four of the past five games the teams have met dating back to last season. Among those wins for the Bears were a 5-4 decision in the PAC Final Four as well as a 5-4 win in the quarterfinal round game of the District One playoffs to secure a state playoff berth.