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Lindsay strong in circle, Upper Perkiomen defeats OJR to advance to PAC final

ROYERSFORD >> No matter the outcome, Upper Perkiomen’s Taylor Lindsay would have been content with her team’s accomplishments.

Winning, however, is much sweeter.

Lindsay threw a complete game, scattering four hits and allowing two earned runs as the Indians clinched their first trip to the Pioneer Athletic Conference title game with a 3-2 victory over Owen J. Roberts Tuesday night.

“Win or lose, I would have been happy with how far we have progressed this season,” Lindsay, Upper Perkiomen’s starting pitcher, said. “Playing in a game like this meant a lot. We had a pretty big turnout for us tonight.”

Upper Perkiomen’s Sarah Heidler (20) slides in ahead of the tag from Owen J. Roberts catcher Casey Walker during the first inning. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

The turnout was much larger than Lindsay and the Indians have been accustomed to over the past decade. Resigned to single-digit win seasons, the Indians’ growth had been sluggish up until this season. This season their 19 wins is one shy of the total of the past three seasons combined. Now, the Indians search for their first PAC title since 1988 Thursday night against Perkiomen Valley (3-1 winner over Spring-Ford in the earlier semifinal).

“We’re growing stronger girls,” Upper Perkiomen head coach Dean Sullivan said. “All these girls I have on these team are travel players who have been coached by great coaches all around the area. I’m just guiding them. They know what they need to do.”

Upper Perkiomen’s Autumn Gahmen is tagged out by Owen J. Roberts catcher Casey Walker during the first inning. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

Behind Lindsay’s effort in the circle, Sarah Heidler and Alyssa Sullivan provided the big bats, each going 2-for-3, while Morgan Lindsay (Taylor’s freshman sister) and Karlee Fretz contributed RBIs. The Indians led after the first inning, 2-0, behind a Fretz sacrifice fly and Sullivan RBI double before extending it to 3-1 in the third via a Morgan Lindsay double with the nine-iron to the left-field fence.

From there, they held on.

The Wildcats, paced by the bat of Bridget Guinan, who went 3-for-3 with a double, triple and RBI, battled their way back into it in the final frame. Darby Stuart reached on an error before getting caught trying to steal second two pitches later. Madison Twaddell then singled before Brittney Dellaquila’s walk to put runners at first and second. A flyout by the next hitter for the second out was quickly answered by a Guinan double to deep left, scoring Twaddell. Lindsay, however, settled down to get the last batter to fly out to the second baseman to end it.

Lindsay finished with 92 pitches, 68 for strikes while striking out three and walking one. Lindsay now ranks third in the Pioneer Athletic Conference with a 1.15 ERA.

Upper Perkiomen’s Sarah Heidler is all smiles after a hauling in a juggling catch during the Indians’ victory over Owen J. Roberts. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

“My confidence has really grown from the last year,” Lindsay said, also adding that her sister behind the plate has only added to her confidence.

“She’s starting to learn how big games affect her,” Sullivan said. “She knows what to do to adapt to the pressure, battles through it and wins. She has a winning mentality and here at Upper Perk, that’s what we hope we continue to grow into. We don’t want to be the doormats of the PAC anymore.”

OJR, ranked No. 14 in the latest District 1 Class 6A power rankings, fell out of contention for their first PAC title since 2009. Dellaquila took the loss despite scattering nine hits and striking out three and walking one. Only one of her runs was earned.

“We played really well, but unfortunately they made one more play than we did,” Wildcats head coach Jen Beaver said. “They’re 19-2 for a reason and have a strong team. It’s a tough loss, but we’ll bounce back. Tomorrow we’re going to move on and prepare for the next game.”