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Perkiomen Valley finds its mojo, rallies late to beat Boyertown

BOYERTOWN >> Perkiomen Valley head coach Ryan Hinkle will be the first to admit that he’s got some superstitions.

“Yeah, just a few,” he said with a laugh.

He’ll crouch, stand, sit, kneel — whatever it takes to find the right mojo, the right position that will give his team all the momentum.

During the top of the seventh inning Friday night at Bear Stadium, Hinkle obviously found the right spot as the Vikings rallied for five runs to storm back and beat Boyertown 6-3.

“I was posted up right there (during the rally in the seventh),” said Hinkle, pointing to a pole in the visitors dugout. “I noticed that when our hitters got down in the count, I wasn’t there. So of course, I moved right back to that spot. That’s baseball.”

Perkiomen Valley relief pitcher Mike Gama delivers to the plate against Boyertown Friday. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

The Vikings (10-2 Pioneer Athletic Conference, 10-3 overall) rallied for five of their nine hits and also benefitted from two Boyertown errors in the top of the seventh inning. PV batted around in the inning, with Ryan McCourt, Joe Gorla, Mike Gama, Tyler Strechay and Dylan Boyd delivering run-scoring hits in the inning.

“We played a lot of small ball in that last inning,” said Hinkle. “Whatever you can do to push a couple runs across — that’s the key.”

Similar to his head coach, Perk Valley reliever Mike Gama eventually found himself in the right spot after entering what began as a heavyweight battle between PV starter Brock Helverson and Boyertown ace Pat Hohlfeld. Taking over for Helverson to start the fourth inning, the right-handed Gama lasted four innings where he held Boyertown (9-4, 9-6) to just one hit to go along with six strikeouts. He stranded six runners, including a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Perkiomen Valley pitcher Brock Helverson. (Thomas Nash – DFM)

“I was biting my lip a little bit, not gonna lie,” said Gama of the last inning. “We knew who we were up against — I was just trying to stay focused. Take big, deep breaths and just go with it.”

Gama relied on a knuckle ball in the early going, then settled in and mix up with a fastball-curveball combination. Helverson was strong at the start, but was ultimately done in by a 30-pitch second inning.

Boyertown rallied for all three of its runs in the bottom of the second inning as designated hitter Anthony Rota doubled, then he and Noah Kurtz came around to score on Mike Martin’s two-out infield single. Two batters later, Quinn Mason delivered an RBI single to right field.

Boyertown’s Anthony Rota is congratulated after scoring a run against Perkiomen Valley during the third inning of Friday night’s game. (Thomas Nash – DFM)

Boyertown starting pitcher Hohlfeld was effective early. He last 5-1/3 innings, limiting Perk Valley to four hits and a run while striking out four. Grant Fronheiser pitched into the seventh inning in relief, but couldn’t record an out. For the night, he was tagged for five runs (two earned) on four hits in 0.2 innings of work.

“We had one bad inning,” said Boyertown head coach Todd Moyer. “They rolled the ball when they needed to and we didn’t. We also struck out way too many times.”

Boyertown left nine runners on base, including a man on second base during the bottom of the first inning.

Leadoff man Michael Raineri finished 2-for-3 while Mason had a hit and an RBI.

Friday night was the first time in his five-year head coaching career that Hinkle beat Boyertown at their place. The Vikings beat Spring-Ford in last season’s PAC semifinals at Bear Stadium, but then went on to lose to the Bears in the championship.

“This is a stadium where it’s really tough to win a ball game as the opposing team,” he said. “It feels good to come out here, knock a couple runs across late and then leave with a win.

“Whatever it takes.”

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