Impink delivers as Perk Valley heads to PAC-10 Final

ROYERSFORD — She goes by multiple monikers.

Tuesday night, Perkiomen Valley’s Kelsey Impink added one more to the list.

With the score tied at 3 with one out in the bottom of the 11th, Impink connected with a Gabi Ermish fastball to center field to plate Rachel Helverson to cap off a momentous late-inning comeback in a 4-3 victory over Pottsgrove in the PAC-10 softball semifinals at Spring-Ford’s Ram Park.

The RBI broke Impink, or squish, or squinkles, or squink, out of her 0-for-4 start and gave her a more profound moniker.


“We all came together in that last inning and said that we aren’t going home, we are putting up a fight and doing whatever we can to get the run in,’ Impink said.

Impink’s game-winning hit capped off a furious finish to a game that went the marathon route — lasting just over 2:34 — which saw aces Emily Oltman and Ermish battle it out, each topping the 130-pitch mark with Oltman finishing with an astounding 161 total on a shoulder that finally feels OK after being hampered by soreness throughout the year.

Oltman’s line was stellar, going 11 innings while allowing five hits and two earned while striking out 12 and walking seven. Her effort in the tenth inning was game-changing as she got out of a bases-loaded, no out jam to preserve the 2-2 tie.

“I had more confidence in my team than ever,’ Oltman said. “I wasn’t worried that they wouldn’t back me up. I just threw every pitch like it was my last, I threw my heart out.’

Ermish’s line was equally as impressive as she went 10 1/3 innings allowing eight hits and three runs (two earned) while striking out five. However, Ermish was hampered by a bottom half of her lineup that couldn’t produce any hits as the No. 6-9 hitters finished the game 0-for-18 with two walks and one run scored.

“Timely hits, that’s what we were missing today,’ Pottsgrove head coach Julie Davis said. “But, playing with such young players, with such anxiousness and in this arena, knowing that we had a ton of support from our school district and administration, will only help come district time. We’re playing a ton of quad-A schools and that experience, especially from tonight, should go a long way.’

The win propels the Vikings to the PAC-10 Championship game where they will face Spring-Ford (a 6-5 victor over Owen J. Roberts). The Vikings are searching for their first PAC-10 title since the team claimed its first in 2012.

“It feels amazing,’ Perkiomen Valley’s Shannon Beattie said. “I’m losing my voice now and probably won’t be able to talk tomorrow. We’re just so excited to be here because most of us weren’t here when we won in 2012. We’re just excited to get here for the first time.’

Early on, however, Perkiomen Valley’s ticket to the final seemed out of reach.

Pottsgrove struck for two runs in the first with Ermish fielder’s choice scoring Jenna Trythall before Shauna Maggio’s double to left plated Ermish.

But from there, Pottsgrove’s offense sputtered.

Oltman rallied back from the two-run first, throwing six straight hitless innings as the Vikings chipped away at the lead in the fourth and fifth innings. Noelle McCullough (2-for-4) came through with a critical double to score Helverson in the fourth before Beattie, who was instrumental in the Vikings’ comeback victory over Pottsgrove a few weeks ago, laced a line drive over the center-field fence — right over the 205 sign — for a homer run in the bottom of the fifth.

“It felt amazing,’ Beattie said. “I was just trying to make contact because Gabi is a great pitcher. I had a couple hits off of her last time so I was just trying to do the same thing and help my team get the runs back.’

Ermish and Oltman did enough to silence both team’s bats as the game ventured into extras.

With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, Oltman ran herself into a jam in the tenth, loading up the bases with two consecutive walks before getting Shauna Maggio to groundout to second, allowing Helverson to force out Sydney Schollenberger at home. Oltman then struck out the next Falcons hitter before getting routinely fielding a grounder back to the rubber for the last out.

Jenna Trythall then delivered the key hit for the Falcons in the top of the 11th, scoring Rachel Cherubini but the Vikings answered.

Gillian Barrie tied the game at 3 after scoring off a throwing error by the Falcons second baseman allowing Helverson to reach second. Then, Impink delivered, lacing an 0-2 fastball to shallow center to cue the theatrics.

“I was just trying to make contact and get the ball on the ground,’ Impink said. “We didn’t want to give up. We wanted this so bad and with the way our season has been going so far, we deserved this.’

Now, it’s one more game before Impink can add another moniker to her growing list.


NOTES — Pottsgrove stranded 15 runners on base to Perkiomen Valley’s six. Perkiomen Valley committed four errors in the game to Pottsgrove’s two. Two of Oltman’s seven walks were to Ermish, who Oltman pitched around in both instances.

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