Spring-Ford validates sensational performance by Gouveia with six-run ninth, tops OJR in PAC-10 Championship

ROYERSFORD– Alex Gouveia was an eighth grader the last time Spring-Ford won the Pioneer Athletic Conference Championship.

In that win four years ago, Mike Oczypok was masterful on the mound, as he threw a complete game allowing just one hit, which came with two outs in the seventh inning.

Gouveia showed similar dominance on Wednesday night, as he went all nine innings in the Rams’ 7-2 PAC-10 Championship win over Owen J. Roberts at Spring-Ford’s Ram Stadium.

“I had this game on my mind all day, all season,’ said Gouveia. “My adrenaline was pumping throughout the game. We had a giant student section behind the plate which kept me going and made it even more fun.’

The senior let up two runs (one earned) while scattering five hits and two walks with three strike outs in the complete game victory.

“I threw a lot more change ups tonight than I usually do,’ he said. “Last time I faced Owen J., I was throwing a lot of change ups and it was working pretty well. We figured it would carry over.’

“I felt absolutely comfortable giving him the ball,’ said Spring-Ford head coach Bruce Brobst. “I know he’s fully-capable. He was cruising and he dominated the whole game. He was confident. There was no drop-off in his stuff and there was no reason to take him out.’

Bobby Himes was similarly impressive for Owen J. Roberts, as he went seven innings allowing just one run on three hits and three walks.

But the Wildcats couldn’t produce enough offense to give the junior the edge, as Nate Tomlin eventually took the loss as he gave up six runs on four hits and two walks in the ninth.

“Bobby threw a terrific game, there’s not much more I can ask of him,’ said Owen J. Roberts head coach Greg Gilbert. “We just couldn’t generate any offense. (Gouveia) threw a really nice game for them. Our kids battled, but some days the pitchers win those battles.’

Griffin Hensley had the Wildcats’ only two-hit game while C.J. Weaver had an RBI.

With the score tied at one in the top of the ninth, the Rams broke the game open as Sean McHugh scored on a passed ball, Mike Fuhrmeister knocked in another run on an infield single to third and Zach Smiley slapped a bases loaded two-run single to center.

Smiley was given the sign to swing-away for the first time since his first at-bat in the top of the first inning, having laid down bunts in his previous two plate appearances.

“Bringing in six runs in the last inning was huge,’ said Smiley. “That was the first chance I had since my first at-bat to swing and try and put the ball in play. I just wanted to take advantage of it.’

Zach Wojcik knocked in another run in the inning, and in his second plate appearance of the inning, McHugh knocked in the final run on a fielder’s choice to make it 7-1.

The Wildcats got one back in their half of the ninth inning as Alex Condello led off with a single to right, leading to a run on a passed ball.

Still with a five-run cushion, Gouveia settled in and eventually got Griffin Hensley to ground out to Drew Skrocki to seal the win.

“This was a hard-fought win,’ said Brobst. “To win a game like this is a big win in a big setting. They were totally into it all nine innings, there’s not much more I can ask for from these guys.

Cam Simmons (one run scored, triple) and Jake Kelchner both tallied two hits in the win while Wojcik and Smiley both finished with two RBIs.

“Our first goal was to win the PAC-10, so this win means everything to us,’ Smiley said. “Now our next goal is to keep winning at districts and hopefully make it to states.’

In what was an up and down season for the Rams. Smiley admits the win Wednesday was definitely the highest point so far.

“We started off great, but hit a low-point in the middle of the season,’ he said. “We finally started to turn it on again, and it’s brought us here. Hopefully we can just keep rolling.’

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