ROYERSFORD >> It was the start of a new season for the Perkiomen Valley baseball team on Wednesday afternoon.
A chance to form a new identity.
The Vikings lost twice to league rival Spring-Ford during the regular season, but a different Perk Valley squad showed up for Wednesday’s district playoff opener against the Rams.
No. 9 Perkiomen Valley struck for eight runs in the first three innings on the way to a 13-3 win over No. 8 Spring-Ford in Wednesday’s District 1-6A second round game.
PV will travel to top-seeded West Chester Henderson on Friday for the district quarters.
“We were pretty confident coming in,” PV junior outfielder Michael Poruban said. “We knew we could beat them, even after the first two losses. So we just stayed up the whole time and played well.”
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Poruban set the tone with a lead-off single. After two straight outs, the Vikings reeled off three straight hits. Zach Fusco drove in Poruban before Tyler Boccelli’s double knocked in Fusco and Kevin Fitzpatrick to put PV (16-5) up 3-0 in the first.
Andrew McGowan drove in a pair of runs in the second. Luke Ott, Justin Stasyk and Chris Gorla all drove in runs in the third to put PV up 8-0 on Spring-Ford (14-8).
“I just think it was the amount of hitting we did in practice yesterday,” Poruban said. “We spent pretty much the last half of it all off the machine, and that helped us get ready for today.”
Perkiomen Valley starter Jack Colyer gave up just one hit through the first three innings to help PV take control. He picked up the win, allowing three runs on seven hits and five walks and striking out two in 4.2 innings..
“That was huge,” Colyer said of the big lead. “It gave me so much more confidence on the mound.”
“I was working from the first inning really well. Gorla behind the plate was helping me out a little, and it was just a great day.”
Momentum teetered toward the Rams’ in the fourth and fifth innings. Aydan McNelly and Nick Moyer both came around to score after lead-off singles in the fourth to make it 8-2.
Spring-Ford got its first two runners on in the fifth and McNelly tattooed another ball. But this time it was right at PV second baseman JT Brady, who snagged it and tagged second for a double play.
Brian Korchok (2 RBI) singled in Jake Books to make it 8-3, but McGowan came in for Colyer and ensured the damage didn’t go further than that.
“I thought we had a chance to get back in the game,” Books said. “Colyer was getting high on the pitch count. It just didn’t go our way today.”
McGowan followed Colyer with 2.1 innings of hitless relief, walking one and striking out two.
The Vikings had 11 players combine for hits. Poruban (3-for-5, 4 R, RBI), McGowan (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI) and Boccelli (2-for-2, R, 4 RBI) had the big offensive days.
“We just know that we have a very deep lineup,” Boccelli said. “Whoever’s next up can hit. When it’s your time to shine, just prove you can hit and it happens.”
The Vikings combined for just five runs in two games against the Rams in the regular season, and the offensive outburst was a far cry from the two-hit performance the Vikings put up in the a PAC semifinal loss to Owen J. Roberts.
“In practices, we just all came together as a team and hit, hit, hit,” Boccelli said. “Our close bonds helped us and in practice we just executed our hits and it improved us in game.”
Spring-Ford’s loss closes the doors on three terrific careers in McNelly, Books and shortstop Griffin Straface.
The three combined for 36 wins in two varsity seasons, helping the Rams to a PAC championship and state semifinal last season.
The Rams started this season 3-3 in the PAC before winning 10 of 11 to reach the league championship game.
“We really turned it around,” Books said. “The start of the season we were really down and it was tough. We just kept with it, kept with coach, kept with everything. Everyday at practice, we just kept with it.”
Fellow seniors Garrett Wible, Gage Swanger, Cooper Stone, Ryan Garvey, Grant Klemann, Ryan Burke, Connor Nafus, Luke Czachor, Kolten Kqira and Scott Renk also filled in various roles for the team this season.
“All our seniors who are here really did a nice job,” Spring-Ford coach Rick Harrison said. “They really did a nice job just persevering and maturing and doing things the right way. That’s all we ask. We want the kids to do things the right way, be leaders in the community and I think the guys we have here are good examples of that.”
Perkiomen Valley can earn a spot in states with a win over top-seeded West Chester Henderson on Friday.
The Warriors have just one loss this season, but the Vikings will bring into the game red-hot bats and have available two of their top three arms (McGowan and Ashton Mehler).
PV hasn’t been to the district semifinals since 2017.
“Just playing loose, playing confident,” Colyer said of the keys to the game. “We know what we gotta to do and just have some fun.”
“Like we did today,” Boccelli added.
NOTES >> Nick Moyer and Grant Klemann both had two hits for Spring-Ford.