Perkiomen Valley’s Ashley Bangert (3) is congratulated after her second home run during Tuesday’s game between Perkiomen Valley and Coatesville. (Bill Rudick – For Pa Prep Live)
CALN >> Perkiomen Valley coach Dan McLaughlin emphasized two words between each inning of Tuesday’s game with Coatesville: “Seven Innings.”
No matter how big his team’s lead got, McLaughlin just kept telling the Vikings to keep it up for all seven innings.
The Vikings gave the coach what he wanted.
Highlighted by a monster day at the plate from Ashley Bangert (4-for-4, two home runs, two doubles and three RBI), and a three-hit shutout from pitcher Abby Wild, Perkiomen Valley topped Coatesville, 9-0, in a nonleague matchup of two of the top teams in District 1.
“We really needed a win like this today,” said McLaughlin. “We’ve had some games lately where we’d let up, and have blown some leads. It was great to be able to come in here against a good team like Coatesville (11-2) and show we knew how to close out a game.”
It was the bottom of the order that got things going for the Vikings (12-1) in the second. Jordan Sell, hitting out of the six slot, led off the inning with a single, and was sacrificed over on a beautiful bunt from Jessie Oltman. No. 9 hitter Brittany Donigan brought Sell home with a single to right for a 1-0 lead.
The Vikings blew it open in the third, putting up five runs on back-to-back homers from Alex Vullings (2-for-3, two runs, RBI) and Bangert, a double from Sela Fusco, a two-run shot from Wild, along with Taylor Ham walking and scoring on an error.
“I’ve never really had a day like today,” said Bangert. “I’ve never had two home runs over the fence. But everyone was hitting today. This was all of us. We all love playing together, and we’re loud and cheering each other on. This was a big win for us, and it gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
From there on out, Wild took care of the rest. The Vikings’ ace picked up the win going seven strong, allowing no runs on three hits, while striking out 13 and not walking a hitter.
“It’s always great to pitch with a lead,” said Wild. “We all knew coming in that this was a big game against a good team. We’d have to all really step things up and keep focused if we wanted to come away with a win. I’m happy with the way I pitched — I know they’ve got some girls who can hit. I just tried my best to hit my spots, and I did for the most part, and they played amazing defense behind me.”
Coatesville, which came into the game ranked first in the District 1 Class 6A power rankings (the Vikings were second), will have little time to fret over a loss. The Red Raiders are right back into the Ches-Mont schedule for the next three days — including a much anticipated showdown with Bishop Shanahan Thursday — and will look forward to seeing pitcher Bri White back in the circle.
“The first goal, and the ultimate goal for us right now, is to win our league,” said Coach Bill Mendenhall. “First or second seed in districts doesn’t mean all that much compared to winning the Ches-Mont.”
But Mendenhall knows it was good for his team to see a team like Perk Valley at this point in the season.
“We know that this is probably a team we’re going to see again in a few weeks in districts,” said Mendenhall. “Our younger pitchers got to see some action today, and learned that they can be effective against a good hitting team if they keep the ball down and start hitting their spots. After they started to figure that out, they did pretty well the rest of the way.”