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Big 3rd inning lifts Souderton past Pennridge

Souderton's Luke Taylor scores a run during the top of the third inning during the Indians' game against Pennridge on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)

PERKASIE >> There’s been a definite trend to the Souderton baseball team’s season so far.

In every game, the Indians have fallen behind then rallied to at worst tie the game. While Souderton is aware it needs to cut down on the amount of early inning runs it’s giving up, the Indians know their bats give them a chance until they do.

Thursday, Souderton used a big third inning to flip the script on Pennridge as the Indians claimed a 10-5 SOL Continental win at Kulp Field.

“These guys are spraying the ball right now and looking good,” Indians coach Mike Childs said. “I’ve been telling these guys since we started so late and already re-scheduled so many games, we have to roll into this in mid-season form. The bats, you would think this early the pitcher has the advantage, but our bats are ringing right now.”

Souderton’s David Gulibon at bat during the 1st inning with Pennridge’s Jack Goddess catching during their game on Thursday, April 12, 208. (Debby High for Digital First Media)

Souderton (3-1, 2-0 conference) collected 12 hits in total, with half that number coming in the decisive third inning, where they put up seven runs to turn a 5-1 deficit into an 8-5 advantage. In sending 12 batters to the plate, Souderton not only regained a lead, it quieted a Rams team that had all the confidence to that point.

After the Indians opened the game with a run on Moses Clemons’ RBI single in the top of the first, Pennridge (0-3, 0-3) tied the game when Ray Knight drew a bases-loaded walk off Indians starter David Gulibon in the bottom of the frame. Gulibon, who went three innings in his first league start of the year, ended the threat with a strikeout.

The Rams came back hard in the second inning, led off by Anthony Helbling’s double. After Jimmy Petrik laced a one-out single, Brett Henofer’s two-out base hit drove in Helbling for the go-ahead run. Eddie Kerrigan was hit by a pitch to load the bags, and an infield error then allowed two runs to score and the inning to continue.

Knight stroked an RBI double to plate Kerrigan, giving Pennridge a 5-1 lead and Souderton just the kind of start it had hoped to avoid.

“We felt pretty good after that second inning,” Rams coach Tom Nuneviller said. “Souderton’s a tough team, they’ve all got kinds of pitching so for our guys to come out and swing the bats, I was pretty excited. Then they came out and swung the bats on us and I’m a little disappointed, we kind of clammed up after that.”


Pennridge’s Brett Henofer slides into home during the third inning of the Rams’ game against Souderton Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)

Souderton wasn’t too concerned heading up to bat in the third inning. Second basemen Luke Shank reached on an error to start the frame and things only built from there. Luke Barnum walked, then both runners advanced on a wild pitch that allowed a long fly ball by Blaise Sclafani to plate Shank.

Clemons followed with an RBI double, Luke Taylor reached on an error and Gulibon singled home Clemons’ courtesy runner, Hogan Despain, to get within a run. Tom Wassel, the Indians’ No. 8 hitter, continued the wave with an RBI double that scored Taylor and knotted the game.

“We’ve started off down and given up a lot of runs in the first couple innings but we’ve been resilient and play with a lot of energy,” Shank, who had three hits, said. “When we keep the energy up, it’s easy one through nine to get some hits and bring the runs in.”

It was fitting that Shank mentioned the nine spot because Indians No. 9 hitter Jordan Morales came up with the biggest hit of the inning. The junior, who is known more for his standout pitching, started in right field and stepped in with two men on base in the third.

“I was just thinking to try and get a run in, I was just trying to produce because these were my first couple at-bats of the season,” Morales said. “Our team battled back from a four-run deficit and when we’re down, we play well as a team and know what we have to accomplish.”

Souderton’s David Gulibon delivers a pitch during the Indians’ game against Pennridge on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)

Morales ripped a double down the right field line, scoring two runs and giving Souderton a 7-5 lead it wouldn’t give back. The junior would later score on a long single by Shank to complete the seven-run frame.

Shank, who went 3-for-5, reached four times with two runs, two RBI and two steals, said the inning was the entire lineup feeding off each other and the encouragement of the bench. He couldn’t place why the offense has been so hot to start the season but noted everyone seems to be rolling with it.

“It’s just contagious, you want to get on base and keep it going, you don’t want to be one of the outs when you bat around,” Shank said. “I started off a little rough, I only had one hit the first couple games so I was in the cages last night just figuring some things out and was confident going into today.”

Pennridge was led by Petrik, who had three hits and a walk and Helbling who had two hits and reached three times. Roster turnover has left the Rams with a more inexperienced team and Nuneviller they haven’t quite been able to get that big hit when they’ve needed it.

“We have to find a way to win and learn how to win,” Nuneviller said. “We need to get a win just so they can see we can do this.”

Pennridge’s Carson Wells delivers a pitch during the Rams’ game against Souderton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Debby High/For Digital First Media)

Souderton added two more runs in the fifth when Shank singled home Morales then scored on a Pennridge error. Morales also had a busy day with two hits, a walk, a hit by pitch, three steals, two runs and two RBI.

Childs noted that several of his top pitchers, like Gulibon, Morales, Sclafani and Aaron Groller, can play other positions, which doesn’t shoehorn them into one spot and gives the team options both on the hill and in the field.

“I just want to capitalize as much as possible and help this team win,” Morales said. “Without my teammates having good at-bats, I wouldn’t be in that position at all.”

SOUDERTON 107 020 0 – 10 12 3
PENNRIDGE 140 000 0 – 5 10 3
2B: Moses Clemons (S), Jordan Morales (S), Blaise Sclafani (S), Tom Wassel (S), Anthony Helbling (P), Mike Simpson (P). Multiple hits: S – Luke Shank 3-5, Moses Clemons 2-4, Jordan Morales 2-2, Luke Barnum 2-5; P – Jimmy Petrik 3-4, Anthony Helblin 2-4.



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