Perkiomen School gets revenge on Penn Charter in PAISAA quarterfinal

PENNSBURG — They remembered.

Remembered how Penn Charter swept a doubleheader with them during the regular season. How a back injury to Christian DelToro forced a lineup shift that was unable to avert that outcome.

The Perkiomen School players embraced those memories Thursday, and they made them work to their advantage. The host Panthers achieved vindication from Penn Charter in the form of a 5-3 victory in the Pa. Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) Tournament’s quarterfinal round.

Levi Stoudt threw a complete game for Perkiomen, which took advantage of loose play by Penn Charter to score go-ahead and insurance runs in the fourth and fifth innings. That qualified the third-seeded Panthers for Saturday’s semifinal round (4 p.m.), and put them within one win of playing for the state title that evening.

“We wanted that game … not Hill School, but Penn Charter,’ Stoudt said in reference to the schools’ second-round pairing. “We know if we play the way we’re supposed to, we can beat any team.’

The first go-round saw PC win the twinbill opener 7-1, then get extended to 10 innings in the nightcap before coming away with an 8-7 victory. The injury to DelToro, Perkiomen’s No. 2 pitcher, required a personnel shift on the mound and in the infield that didn’t pan out.

“They did want the opportunity,’ head coach Ken Baker said. “It was kind of a crazy scenario down there. The kids felt they had to redeem themselves, that they’re capable of competing with (PC).’

They proved themselves in that regard … not so much at the plate — the Panthers mustered only three hits on the afternoon — but on the basepaths. A defensive error and passed ball by the visitors provided opportunities for the Panthers to make plays with their feet.

Alex Soriano, who reached base in the fourth on a muff of his hit to shortstop, moved up on Josh Cruz’s single to center before racing home when a pitch to Charlie Barebo got away from catcher Kenny Bergmann. In the fifth, Tom Aaron got to first on another error, then completed his circuit of the bases with help from a Javi Quinones single and Del Toro’s sacrifice fly to center.

“We rely a lot on our baserunning. It’s a strong part of our game,’ Stoudt said. “We know we don’t have to outhit the other team, just get runners on base. That’s what we did.’

Stoudt did his part on the mound, giving Perkiomen a second complete game in the tourney. The Panther junior scattered five hits, one walk and only one earned run of the three Penn Charter plated in the second.

After working out of one tight spot in the fifth — the visitors had runners on third and first with two out — Stoudt found himself in another in the top of the seventh when PC opened the frame with back-to-back singles. But he got Bergmann for the first out on a fly ball to center, then got the capper when DelToro turned an unassisted double play off Dillon Malandro’s grounder to short.

“That was good to see,’ he said. “I had a lot of confidence, seeing balls hit in the dirt.’

At the same time, Stoudt wasn’t about to let anyone else finish the game for him — even with his pitch count at 80 through six. He made that point quite clear to Baker when they conversed following PC’s second hit of the seventh.

“I asked Levi how he was doing, and he said ‘ great,” Baker recalled. “There was no way he was going to let me take him out.’

“I’m the type of pitcher who wants to finish every game,’ Stoudt added. “Nothing was said to me about coming out.’

The Panthers’ initial run production, in their first at-bat, came despite getting only one hit. Charlie Barebo (hit by pitch), Angel Lopez (safe on error) and Aaron (walk) all reached base in advance of Stoudt’s single. Quinones (fielder’s choice), Saul DeLeon (safe on error) and DelToro (walk) also got on base before the bataround was completed.

“It was strange. We were hitting the ball, but right at them,’ Baker noted. “But the kids went on, and they were able to move up.’

Perkiomen’s semifinal-round opponent will be Haverford School, which edged Germantown Academy by an 8-7 count Thursday. That game will be 4 p.m. at Upper Perkiomen’s Bonekemper Field, the site for the tourney’s 7 p.m. championship contest.

“When you get to this level,’ Baker said, “the top eight (teams) are all quality. We have six seniors who are revved up to get back to the final.’

NOTES — The tourney’s other semifinal will be 4 p.m. Saturday at Perkiomen. The winners of the Malvern Prep/Episcopal Academy and Mercersburg Academy/Springside Chestnut Hill quarterfinals will play there. … Adam Holland’s double to center drove in two of Penn Charter’s runs. He ended up the visitors’ lone multiple-hit performer, going 2-for-4.

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