BUCKTOWN >> The night belonged to Perkiomen Valley.
Coming off a one-run, nine-inning loss against Boyertown on Friday, the Vikings had plenty at stake coming into their tilt at Owen J. Roberts on Monday night.
“That loss Friday was a heartbreaker for our guys,” said PV head coach Ryan Hinkle. “So coming into this one, we knew we’d need to respond well.”
Say no more.
Looking to establish themselves as a force in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, the Vikings had their way from the get-go scoring eight first-inning runs en route to a 14-0 win in five innings over the Wildcats at Owen J. Roberts High School.
“This is the team I was hoping would come out tonight,” said Hinkle. “We got after it right away in this one and never let up. That says a lot about our guys — to come out and respond this way is huge for us.”
The result improves Perkiomen Valley to 5-1 in the PAC-10 (4-1 overall) while Owen J. Roberts drops to 5-1 PAC-10 (4-1 overall) with its first loss of the season.
“We just got outplayed from the start,” said Owen J. Roberts skipper Greg Gilbert. “That’s a credit to them; they played a wonderful game and we didn’t bring it.”
Brock Helverson was dominant on the mound, scattering two hits and three walks across all five innings of work. Despite his strong outing, the sophomore credits the win to his team’s offensive outpour in the opening frame.
“I knew I had to pound the strike zone and keep the lead,” said Helverson. “My team did most of the work. It’s a lot easier to take the mound with an eight-run lead. They (PV’s hitters) got the game started off the right way for us. It was my job to take it from there.”
The sophomore kept the Wildcats at bay for most of the night. The only real threat came in the third inning when OJR loaded up the bases with one out. With the bases filled and a 10-run lead, Helverson sat the next two batters down with a fly out to right followed by a groundout to third.
“That’s the thing about him,” said Hinkle, “he’s got great control and great command. He doesn’t let the pressure get to him. He kept the ball low in the strike zone all throughout the game and kept himself out of trouble.”
Coming off the aforementioned loss to Boyertown, sophomore Joe Gorla said he and his teammates needed to use the it as motivated, yet still put the loss behind them.
“We were fired up from the get-go,” said Gorla, who finished with a three-run home run in the opening frame and also scored twice. “We were putting the ball in play, punching the gaps and taking extra bases at any opportunity. It was definitely key for us to get on them right away.”
Plagued by two errors at third base within the opening five batters of the night, Owen J. Roberts pitcher Corey Hennessey never really had a chance to settle in on the mound. The senior lasted just 2/3 of the opening inning while allowing eight runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk to take the loss.
A batter after Sean Moriarity was hit by a 1-2 pitch to lead-off the game, Nate Yoder reached first on an error to give PV its first threat of the afternoon. Catcher Matt Szczesny lined a single to center to open up the scoring followed immediately by a two-run single from Trent Tyson.
After Zach Alcott reached on an error to load up the bases, Hennessey threw a wild pitch to make it 3-0. After a swing-and-miss on strike one, shortstop Gorla connected for a three-run shot to left-center to extend it to a six-run lead.
Following an RBI double from Adam Gaines a few batters later, Hennessey’s night was done.
Though there is plenty more baseball to go this season, Perkiomen Valley made its presence felt with the one-sided affair Monday. Entering the night, Owen J. Roberts had only allowed six runs against across its first five games this season.
“It’s a long season,” said Gilbert. “We’ve got to learn and move on from this one. (Tuesday) we’ll come to practice and do what we normally do.”
NOTES >> Monday’s outing proved as a major contrast from a season ago when Hennessey lasted 6-2/3 innings during the Wildcats’ PAC-10 Final Four playoff win over Perkiomen Valley. … Four different Perkiomen Valley batters were hit by a pitch Monday.