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Punchless Perkiomen Valley has chance to rebound from district defeat

ROYERSFORD — There’s never a good time to lose.

Whether it be in the regular season, PAC-10 playoffs — or in Perkiomen Valley’s case — its first district final appearance.

However, for the Vikings, seeing their 24-game winning streak and momentous ride snap wasn’t all bad news.

A loss can’t take anything away from the first-ever team in Perkiomen Valley history to reach the pinnacle of the district playoffs.

It can’t take anything away from a team that, likewise, was the first team in school history to reach the PIAA playoffs.

It can’t take away the 24-game winning streak, or the team’s second PAC-10 championship in school history, becoming the first undefeated champion since Great Valley’s 1999 squad.

The loss can’t put any blemishes on an already-written resume, and, more importantly, this loss can’t take away their season.

Not yet.

For the Vikings, there’s still more softball left to play, and like Owen J. Roberts coming back from a PAC-10 semifinal loss to win the district, the Vikings could ride its lone loss to new heights, possibly even a state title.

“This loss doesn’t take away from all the positive things we’ve done from the rest of the season,’ Perkiomen Valley senior captain Brenna Sermarini said. “You look at our record and it’s hard to even go that far. So despite losing, I’m really proud of my team. It’s a tough loss, but we’ll learn from it and come back stronger in states.

“We can’t dwell on this loss as much as it sucks. We’ll probably be mad for a few days but we know the sun will come up tomorrow. We’ll get out and play, remember all the positive things we’ve done. We’ll let this go, forget about it, it’s done, it’s over with. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t change the past, you can only look ahead.’

Thursday’s loss could be chalked up to facing a pitcher in OJR’s Kylie Glenn that was just lights out, a defense that was for all intents and purposes mistake-free and a team that made the most of its chances.

Emily Oltman was her solid self as she extended her scoreless innings streak to 16 2/3 before the OJR two-run sixth inning. Defensively, the Vikings were solid as well, committing only one error.

It just wasn’t their day — it was OJR’s.

But the Vikings’ day could yet come, their perfect run through the regular season and dramatic stretch through the District 1-AAAA playoffs afforded them that.

And with a team that’s scored 18 runs in its last four games, another long ride could be in store.

“Obviously the kids were upset,’ Perkiomen Valley head coach Dan McLaughlin said. “But I could tell them after this game that they have more softball left to play and that any negative energy that they have now — what they’re feeling — they need to refocus and use that negative energy to clean some things up, work hard and play hard next week.’

Leave it to Beaver

Owen J. Roberts’ success in the district playoffs has become a normality the last 15 years, with the team reaching the district quarterfinals five times, the semifinals three times and a district title in 2008. One familiarity, besides head coach Kevin Kirby, is Jen Beaver, who was a part of the 2008 district title winning team and is now an assistant coach on this year’s squad after playing collegiately at the Indiana University of Pa.

New Level for the PAC

The district final between Perkiomen Valley and Owen J. Roberts was the first district title game to feature two PAC-10 teams. Spring-Ford has been the closest to the district final the last five years, reaching the semifinals (and earning a PIAA berth) in 2014 and 2011.

Local PIAA Schedule

On tap for Monday, Owen J. Roberts will face District 3’s fourth-place finisher Penn Manor; Daniel Boone (3-2) will face Hazleton Area (District 2 champion); Perkiomen Valley faces District 12 champion Archbishop Ryan at 5 p.m. at Arcadia University.

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