Pottsgrove one win away from PAC-10 Final Four, edges Owen J. Roberts, 3-2

POTTSGROVE — Win and they’re in.

It’s a luxury that Pottsgrove’s been provided after winning three straight games, including a do-or-die doubleheader.

A luxury that’s provided via another standout performance from Gabi Ermish in the circle and another hitter stepping up when needed the most.

Ermish delivered another gem for the Falcons, both offensively and defensively, while Cori Dickinson knocked in the eventual game-winning run as the Falcons inched a step closer to a Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four position with a 3-2 win over Owen J. Roberts Monday at Pottsgrove.

The win, coupled with a Methacton 4-0 loss to Perkiomen Valley, pushes the Falcons to the cusp of their first PAC-10 playoff berth in nearly 20 years. The Falcons (10-7 PAC-10) can clinch a Final Four berth with a victory over Upper Perkiomen Wednesday. A loss and a Methacton loss to Spring-Ford will do the trick as well.

“This win is huge,’ Pottsgrove head coach Julie Davis said. “We’ve been talking to the girls all season. If you play solid defense and get some key hits, we can win. We got some key hits today and good things happened.’

Paving the way for the Falcons quest for its first PAC-10 championship since 1995 was Ermish.

The junior Bryant University verbal commit was just as sharp as she was in an overwhelming complete-game, 11-strikeout performance in Game 1 against Boyertown Friday — an effort that paved the way to a critical two-game sweep that eliminated the Bears from playoff contention.

Ermish didn’t rack up the same strikeout totals, but she delivered a three-hit performance, allowing two earned while walking two and striking out one. Offensively she was just as critical, as she delivered a timely two-run triple down the left-field line before Dickinson’s double to deep left brought in her in for the eventual game-winning run in the fifth inning.

“Gabi’s a stud,’ Davis said. “She goes out there and she gives a 100 percent whether its in the circle or hitting. She understands the game and asks great questions. She’s just a player and she’s mature beyond her years. She’s looking to go to Bryant University, and mentally, she’s ready for it.’

“Today was a very big win for us,’ Ermish said. “It made a lot of us happy but we’re taking it one game at a time. We still need to be ready for Upper Perk because with a win we’re in. The coaches have been putting pressure on us and we’ve been picking it up. Practices have been a lot more intense and it’s been working on the field.’

Pottsgrove’s win spoiled an otherwise solid performance from OJR pitcher Kylie Glenn, who worked six innings, allowing seven hits while striking out two. Alissa Vining, Nikki Testa and Brianna Smith (one RBI) all registered hits in the loss for the already Final Four-bound Wildcats (14-3 PAC-10).

“Kylie did a great job, she’s been pitching really well the last couple of weeks.’ OJR head coach Kevin Kirby said. “I said to the kids, there’s nothing to hang our heads about. They’re (Pottsgrove) a good team and they’re playing well.

“Obviously, Ermish was great today. She pitched very well, drives in two and scores the other one. Can’t ask anybody to do much more than that.’

Ermish’s timely hit spelled the difference in a pitchers’ duel through the first four innings.

The Wildcats got the first run on the board in the fifth off an error by the Pottsgrove second baseman, who overthrew third base as she tried to nab Nikki MacMullin (courtesy runner for Kylie Glenn) trying to advance on a groundout.

Pottsgrove answered in the bottom half of the inning as Molly McGeehan worked a walk before a Jenna Trythall fielder’s choice and Sydney Schollenberger single put runners at first and third with two outs. Ermish then delivered the timely hit, lacing a 2-0 pitch over the third base bag and all the way to the fence, scoring both runners. Dickinson followed with a deep shot to left on a 1-1 count that carried over the OJR left fielder’s head and to the fence to plate Ermish to make it 3-1.

“I was aiming to just get a single and break open the game,’ Dickinson said. “The main point for us is with runners on you base, you bring them in. (You need to do) anything to help the team.’

Dickinson’s RBI stood to be the difference as OJR added a run in the sixth off a Smith groundout. However, Ermish got out of a first-and-third situation to end the sixth before forcing OJR to strand the game-tying run at second in the seventh to end it.

“We’re definitely going to try and keep the intensity up,’ Dickinson said. “The Boyertown games definitely gave us momentum. We know that if we played today just like we did against Boyertown, we had a really good shot. That’s what we did, we picked each other up and didn’t let the errors cycle on anymore.’

NOTES — Dickinson finished with two hits while Trythall, Schollenberger, Ermish, Shauna Maggio and Kira Livezy each finished with one. … OJR stranded seven runners on base compared to Pottsgrove’s six.

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