FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> Perkiomen Valley assistant coach Joe Bogus had a hunch.
A home run from Taylor Hamm was coming … he could just feel it.
Parents might want to start asking him for his lottery predictions, because his intuition was dead-on accurate.
Moments after Bogus told Hamm he was feeling a home run from the first baseman, Hamm delivered, launching a deep blast over the center-field fence to provide a key insurance run in what ended up a 3-2 Perkiomen Valley victory over District 11 runner-up Parkland in the PIAA Class 6A opening round Monday at Methacton.
“He came up to me and said ‘It’s home run time, I’m feeling a home run from you right now.’ … I guess he was,” Hamm said with a laugh.
The win sends the Vikings into the PIAA quarterfinals for the third-straight season. They’ll face District 3 champion Chambersburg Thursday at a site and time to be determined.
“I’m excited to move on and keep it going,” Hamm said.
Hamm’s home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, which gave the Vikings a 3-1 lead, was a big reason why PV is moving on … so was the defensive shift made by Bogus in the early innings after seeing Parkland pound singles up the middle. The new positioning placed shortstop Jordan Sell right at the second base bag, which proved vital in the top of the seventh with Parkland threatening to tie the score with runners on second and third down one run. A hard-hit grounder had eyes into center field, but the shift had put Sell right into the ball’s path and she fired to first to end it.
“Coach Bogus had told us in the beginning to move more up the middle, me and (second baseman) Jess Ott,” Sell said of her shift. “I was probably right behind the bag and I was in great positioning to make the play to end it.”
The win helps make up for the sting for the team’s loss in the District 1-6A title game to Avon Grove last week. Shut out for the first time since a loss in the 2015 District 1 title game to Owen J. Roberts (2-0), the Vikings pounded out seven hits in the win. The bat of Jess Oltman shined brightest as she provided the big bat in the bottom of the fourth inning, sending an offering deep into right center for a double that plated Sela Fusco and Sell to give the Vikings a 2-1 lead.
It was Oltman’s second momentous hit in three games (she had a bloop single to tie the game in the top of the seventh to help send Perkiomen Valley to a 5-1 win over Spring-Ford in the district semifinals), and a huge welcome for head coach Dan McLaughlin who has loved what he’s seen from the bottom of his lineup.
“Oltman and Hamm have been coming up huge for us,” McLaughlin said. “The two of them have been working real hard on their hitting, so it’s nice to see. Neither one of them had a lot of chances to hit last year, so just like last year, some of our juniors are stepping up.”
Senior pitcher Abby Wild was helped out by her defense throughout, Gillian Barrie providing a highlight-reel diving catch in right field to save a run in the second inning. Brittany Donigan threw out a runner trying to steal to get the Vikings out of the fifth inning before Sell made the game-saving play to her left to end it. Wild struck out four and walked one while scattering 10 hits in her complete-game effort.
Hamm finished with two hits with Barrie, Alex Vullings, Fusco and Sell each adding hits.