Spring-Ford minimizes errors, erases OJR in PAC-10 semifinal

ROYERSFORD — Spring-Ford head coach Tim Hughes preached before Tuesday night’s PAC-10 semifinal to minimize the mistakes.

It appeared his Rams listened.

Jenna Lee threw 5 1/3 innings allowing three earned on 11 hits while Jaycie Loomis provided the late-game heroics with the game-winning RBI as Spring-Ford topped Owen J. Roberts, 6-5, in a see-saw battle in the nightcap PAC-10 semifinal at Ram Park.

The most important statistic for Hughes, though … one error.

“Twenty years we win on defense and we’ve been struggling this year,’ Hughes said. “I told my team, we just have to minimize the errors and mistakes to three. We were getting eight a game and the girls have been trying as hard as they can but we were still making mistakes. That’s the stuff that we had to fix.’

Spring-Ford cleaned up its defensive play and took advantage of a Wildcats team which didn’t, converting three errors to the tune of two runs as the team came back from a 4-2 fifth inning deficit with the help of the big bat from Megan Kern (3-for-4, two runs, three RBI) and the timely hit from Loomis.

“It’s almost like a crime that we won today because the way they’ve destroyed us the last two games,’ Hughes said. “We probably made at least 15 or 16 errors or mistakes in two games combined.

“I’m happy as hell. It’s nice to pull one out from them because they’ve been playing well. They’re well coached and they’re a great team. It’s definitely nice. We’ve seen some potential tonight from us and hopefully it just keeps going.’

The win propels the Rams to the PAC-10 final where they will face Perkiomen Valley Friday night at Ram Park at 7 p.m. The Rams are searching for their first PAC-10 title since 2013 and third in five seasons.

“It was a total team effort tonight,’ Lee said. “We had a tough practice yesterday and I think that brought the whole team together and gave us some urgency for tonight. We limited the errors and our bats came around when we needed them. We won each inning and that’s what we had to do.’

Lee’s effort in the circle helped the cause for Spring-Ford as she kept the Wildcats from a big inning in the third and the fourth before Amber Sergas did her duty as well in the sixth.

OJR stranded 10 runners in the loss and couldn’t afford Kylie Glenn the win after she pitched seven innings while allowing six runs (five earned). Sam Garritano led the team with three hits as the Wildcats fell short of their first PAC-10 title since 2009.

“I can’t play, all I can do is have them ready to play and I didn’t do my job,’ OJR head coach Kevin Kirby said. “I feel bad for the kids. We could never get that big hit or that big inning. All year long we’ve had some big innings but that’s a credit to them, they made some nice plays, some good pitches. We just had chance after chance after chance to get a little more of a cushion and we were never able to do that.’

The Wildcats had built a 4-2 lead after four with the help of a Graceton Griffith RBI single but couldn’t stretch the lead as Lee got out of a first and third jam with two outs to end the inning.

Kern then delivered in the top half of the fifth as she laced a two-run home run to deep left center to tie the game at four.

The Wildcats answered in the fifth with a run stemming from a Griffith sacrifice fly but stranded another two runners in scoring position before the Rams answered in the top half of the sixth as Jess Hamdan intentionally got herself in a rundown to score Brooke Smith from third.

Sergas then delivered in the sixth in relief of Lee, stymieing a OJR threat as the Wildcats again stranded two.

Loomis then struck for her first hit of the game as her infield bloop single landed between the second baseman and shortstop to plate Jess Della Guardia (courtesy runner for Kern) for the eventual game-winning run.

Sergas took control in the seventh, striking out the No. 9 OJR batter with the game-tying run at second to end it.

“It felt pretty good to contribute,’ Loomis said. “I’ve been in a slump but my team has been there to pick me up. I’m glad I could us get the win tonight.’

NOTES — Spring-Ford left seven on base in the win. … Kylee Harris finished with two hits and two runs scored in the win. … Smith also finished with two hits. … Sydney Schnarrs had two hits and an RBI in the loss for OJR.

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