PERKIOMEN >> For a moment in the fifth inning, the Souderton baseball team thought it got out of a jam with a triple play.
With runners on first and second and no outs in Tuesday’s non-league game with host Perkiomen Valley tied 1-1, Indians first baseman Aaron Gulibon appeared to make a diving catch on a Anthony D’Abbene bunt. Big Red proceeded to record outs on the two baserunners and hustled off the field for its turn at the plate in the sixth.
But then confusion set in.
“We thought it was a catch and a triple play that why we all ran off the field because it was a triple play,” Souderton coach Mike Childs said. “All of sudden, (the umpire) called us back because he had no catch on it. I was like OK. Now, it’s the play you saw, which ended up two outs, which they originally called one out.”
The final decision was no catch, but D’Abbene and Sean Moriarity — who was on first — were both out, leaving the Vikings with a runner on third with two outs. And after waiting a few extra minutes to get his turn at the plate, Nate Yoder connected on the first pitch he saw, with the ball just getting through the right side of the infield to put Perk Valley up 2-1.
“I thought a first-pitch fastball was going to come and if I saw it I was going to hit it and that’s what I got,” Yoder said. “At that point I guess you can call it more of a guessing game in a way. But it was there, I didn’t want to doddle around after all that. I figured they were done, they just wanted to get out of the inning, fastball was coming right down the middle and that’s what he threw.”
Three batters later, Mark Ott’s hit a bases-loaded, two-RBI single through the left side and the three runs in the innings proved the difference on a windy afternoon as Perkiomen Valley picked up the 4-1 victory in the season opener for both teams.
“It’s nice to see the offense clicking, coming together later in the game,” Vikings coach Ryan Hinkle said. “We had a scrimmage last week where we really didn’t fare too well offensively. Today was a little bit more of experimentation in some different areas as well. Kid that was had start, (Tyler) Strechay, as a freshman threw three nice, solid innings for us. And then we mixed some other guys in there.”
Yoder was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored with Moriarity was 2-for-2 with two walks and pair of runs for the Vikings, who begin PAC-10 play 4 p.m. Wednesday at home against Pope John Paul II.
“It’s going to be a nice little test for us to see how our guys rebound with no practicing in between,” Hinkle said. “But they just want to get out here and play baseball. With the condition that this field was yesterday, I’m very happy that we’re on the field to begin with to play.”
Perk Valley’s five pitchers limited Souderton (0-1) to just two hits – a Connor Lennon infield popup that dropped to lead off the first and Blake Gular’s RBI single in the fourth.
“A two-hitter, if that – Connor’s infield fly, which is basically a hit – is not going to get it done,” Child said. “And them playing defense with minimal to no errors, is not going to get it done either, so we got to do more with the bats.
Paul Mudrick picked up the win for the Vikings, throwing a perfect fifth inning. PV starter Strechay tossed three shutout innings, giving up one hit and struck out three. Dylan Boyd earned the save with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh.
Austin Eberhart took the loss for Souderton, giving up three earned runs on four hits and two walks in pitching in the bottom of the fifth. He struck out one batter.
Souderton starts Suburban One League Continental Conference play 3:45 p.m. Thursday on the road against Hatboro-Horsham.
“League play Thursday with one under our belt,” Childs said. “It was good to get out, the scrimmages, we got everybody in today, which is good. It’s always nice That’s the benefit of why we do these non-leagues is to get everybody playing time. It’s a good thing for them to see some bats, but we’re ready to get into it, ready to get started with the league.”
Perkiomen grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Moriarity led off with a walk, stole second then went to third on Adam Gaines’ ground out. The next at-bat, Yoder singled to right, plating Moriarity.
“My two hits, I didn’t feel like I hit them hard, but hits nonetheless,” Yoder said. “I felt good cause I turned on both of them. I was struggling (with) that in the offseason, I wasn’t pulling the trigger. And even though I didn’t hit them super-hard, hey, they’re a hit nonetheless. Two RBIs really helps.”
Souderton leveled the contest in the fourth. Luke Barnum drew a one-out walk, went to second on a Gulibon ground out then scored when Gular singled to left.
The bottom of the fifth began with a Boyd walk and Moriarity base hit. D’Abbene’s effort to put down a bunt resulted in Gulibon’s near-catch and almost triple play, but the end result had Boyd on third with two outs. Yoder got a single through the right side to score Boyd, making it 2-1.
A Matt Szczesny single and Trent Tyson’s walk loaded the bases for Ott, who singled through the left side to bring home Yoder and Szczesny for a three-run advantage.