Spring-Ford shakes off regular-season losses, knocks off Boyertown, 9-4, in PAC-10 semifinal

ROYERSFORD — The regular season means nothing once the postseason rolls around.

Spring-Ford proved it on Monday night, as the Rams erased two regular-season losses to Boyertown by topping the Bears 9-4 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinals at Ram Stadium.

“In this league, just because you’re in fourth place, it doesn’t exactly mean you’re a fourth-place team,’ said Spring-Ford head coach Bruce Brobst. “We lost three of our last four league games on the season, including an embarrassing loss against these guys (Boyertown). Tonight, we came out completely focused and it really drove us.’

With the win, Spring-Ford will face Owen J. Roberts for the PAC-10 title on Wednesday night at Ram Stadium.

Bret Clarke was dominant on the mound, holding Boyertown hitless across the first six frames before allowing five hits in the seventh. He brought home the win, tossing the complete game, while allowing four runs (three earned) on five walks and 10 strikeouts.

“There was a lot for us to prove tonight,’ said Clarke. “We really wanted to get this win, especially against Boyertown. They beat us twice during the season, so we knew this would be our last chance to beat them.’

The Stony Brook University commit also helped himself at the dish, going 3-for-5 with an RBI including a single to left in the top of the second to help the Rams send seven runs across in the inning.

“Every time I got up to the plate, I just wanted to try and get on base and make something happen,’ he said. “It was definitely helpful to have that seven run cushion in the second. It makes it a lot easier having run support.’

Zach Smiley (2-for-4) had a double and four RBI to go along with Ryan Markey and Mike Fuhrmeister who each had two hits and two runs scored. Cam Simmons, Matt Daywalt and Conor Larkin each added two hits.

For Smiley, Monday was one last chance for the Rams to get the better of Boyertown, something that had been on he and his teammates’ mind since the season started.

“We really wanted to get this win,’ said Smiley. “Boyertown was the only thing standing between us and playing in the championship, so we were really motivated to come out and beat them.’

“Good things happen when we put the ball in play,’ said Brobst. “That’s what we’ve been saying all season. We hit the ball well, and made a lot of good things happen. As a coach, there’s not much else I can ask from these guys.’

For Boyertown, Pat Hohlfeld suffered the loss, as he lasted just 1 1/3 inning where he allowed seven runs (five earned) on five hits and two walks.

Zach Moser (one run), Ryan Weller and Ryan Jacobs each finished with a hit and an RBI while Dalton Hughes and Ben Longacre both had a hit and a run scored.

“He did a great job on the mound of limiting our chances,’ said Boyertown head coach Todd Moyer. “We had a couple chances to jump on him, but we let him off the hook. We didn’t do a good job of taking advantage of what he gave us.’

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Clarke settled down and sat down the heart of the Bears’ order 1-2-3 with two strikeouts to preserve the win.

After spliting their regular season games with Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford will look to keep the same mentality heading into the championship game on Wednesday night.

“We just need to keep putting the ball in play and putting runners on base,’ said Smiley. “Sure, this is a good win, but we can’t be done yet. We’ve got to go into this next game even more motivated than we were against Boyertown.’

Brobst says it’s the type of win that brings a team together, which may be a perfect time for the Rams.

“In baseball, there are going to be plenty of times where you find yourself down,’ said Brobst. “But it’s all about getting back up and fighting to the finish. We did that (against Boyertown). I’m really proud of these guys, they played how they needed to do get this win.’

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