Bruni’s 100th hit lifts Perkiomen Valley over Hatboro-Horsham in District 1-AAAA second round

GRATERFORD — She’s never been one to keep track of her hit total.

So when Ana Bruni’s father told her prior to Perkiomen Valley’s district contest against Hatboro-Horsham that she was a few hits shy of 100 for her career, the junior shortstop made sure to make Wednesday’s game one to remember.

The way she reached the milestone will be a moment she’ll never forget.

With a runner on and her team trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth, Bruni smacked a line drive down the right-field line before racing around the bases for the old fashioned two-run, inside-the-park home run that propelled the Vikings to an 8-6 victory over the Hatters in the second round of the District 1-AAAA playoffs at Perkiomen Valley.

“I really never envisioned it actually, getting my 100th hit,’ Bruni said. “I haven’t kept track of my hits so when my dad told me that I was close to 100 hits I was like ‘˜cool, I should get some hits down.’ It felt really good to get the spirit up in the dugout because we kept going and had the momentum.’

Bruni’s inside-the-park home run capped off a wacky first three innings that saw both teams put up identical scorelines, each scoring one in the first, three in the second and zero in the third. Erin Hallahan then provided the piece de resistance in the bottom of the fifth, knocking in a pair of runs to give the Vikings an 8-5 lead and starting pitcher Emily Oltman enough of a cushion to work with to get the win.”We made a couple little mental mistakes, especially in the first couple of innings,’ Perkiomen Valley head coach Dan McLaughlin said. “But that’s the difference between this team and in years past. The last two years this team is more confident having been through the battles already. Getting down isn’t that big of a deal to them because they’ve done it enough times that they battle back and they know they can. It would be nice to not get down but having that confidence to build on is irreplaceable.

Bruni (2-for-3 three RBI and two runs scored), Shannon Beattie (three hits) and Brenna Sermarini (two hits, one run) had multi-hit games, while six of the team’s starting nine registered hits in the win for the Vikings, who advance to the Class AAAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history and will host West Chester East (a 3-2 winner over William Tennent) Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.

“A lot of people contributed in big ways like Bruni and in small ways that you don’t see,’ McLaughlin said. “I brought in (Laura) Matekovic off the bench cold and she gets down a sac bunt.

“Here’s a kid that I’m sure wants to hit more but she doesn’t complain, does what she’s told, she gets in there for one at bat and gets the job done. That’s huge to have kids that are willing to put aside own individual goals to help the team out.’

The all-around team effort couldn’t have come at a better time as the Vikings laid waste to the 2-for-2, three runs scored performance by Brynn Griffith and the two-hit effort from Kyleigh Dineen. The Hatters had built leads of 1-0, 4-1 and 5-4 but ultimately couldn’t come back after Bruni’s homer. Trailing 8-5 in the seventh, Hatboro brought across a run before Oltman got the last hitter to ground out to third baseman Kelsey Impink to end it.

The loss comes one year after the Hatters put together a 16-12 victory over the Vikings in the first round of the district playoffs, a game that featured a malfunctioning scoreboard, a dust storm in the middle innings and sporadic showers.

It was a series of events that reared its head early on as the team combined for four errors and 11 runs in the first four innings that lasted over an hour.

A series of events Difilippo wanted no parts of for a second year running.

“(My worry was) that I was going to be in a game like last year,’ Difilippo said. “I really did not want that. But hey, they’re a good team, we played them tough. One hit either way could have changed anything in that game.

“My players gave it their all. Brynn Griffith and Kyleigh Dineen, that’s a 10th grader and a ninth grader. My future is bright.’

Griffith’s presence was felt throughout as she scored a run in the first before lacing a liner over the PV right fielder’s head for an inside-the-park home run to make it 5-4.

However, PV, like in prior innings, responded.

Hallahan reached on a walk issued by Hatters’ reliever Taylor Scuibba before being moved over to second by a Haley Streeper sacrifice bunt three pitches later. Then, Bruni laced a 3-2 fastball to right field, rolling all the way to the fence as she motored around the bases, reaching home without a throw to make it 6-5.

Hallahan answered in the next inning, hitting a single after Shannon Beattie (walk) and Sermarini (single) reached base to make it 8-5.

The run cushion was more than enough for Oltman who settled down after allowing five runs in the first four innings. The junior worked a scoreless fifth, retired the side in order in the sixth, and was effective in the seventh, allowing Griffith to score after tripling before getting the last two outs to seal it.

“We got down and we came back,’ Bruni said. “We tend to hang our heads when we make a couple mistakes in the field but we always have a couple of girls, including myself, that go around and pick them up, go around get them back around, say they’re going to do it next time.

“This win feels good. This is the farthest we’ve ever gotten. It’s a huge accomplishment.’

NOTES — Oltman picked up the win in the circle, throwing seven innings, allowing six runs (five earned) with two walks and six strikeouts. … Lexie Campbell took the loss for Hatboro-Horsham, throwing six innings while allowing 10 hits and seven runs (six earned) with four walks and two strikeouts. … Scuibba was pulled after allowing a walk before working a 3-0 count to the next batter. … Perkiomen Valley left eight on base to Hatboro’s five.

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