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WEST CHESTER >> Any baseball team that plays West Chester Henderson knows it is going to be a struggle to contend with its starting pitching and potent lineup.
Perkiomen Valley found that out Friday morning as the host Warriors got another sterling pitching performance from Eddie Smink and the offense erupted for nine runs in the third inning as the Warriors defeated the Vikings 12-0 in a five-inning game in the District 1 6A quarterfinals at Bob Owens Field.
The win puts the top-seeded Warriors into the PIAA tournament and the District 1 6A Final Four next Tuesday against No. 5 Pennsbury, while the Vikings now go into the consolation bracket where they will have to win two games to qualify for the state tournament.
Perkoimen Valley (15-7) put runners on against Smink in the first and second innings, working some deep counts, but Smink was able to hold the ninth-seeded Vikings off the board and set things up for Henderson’s offense.
“I was having a little trouble getting into a rhythm early in the game,” Smink said. “I was not hitting my spots as well as I would have liked. But, then I went to the stretch full time and started to find my location. Our offense really came through for me. That is why we work so hard everyday in practice and that is why our defense is so good also.”
After the Warriors (21-1) plated a run off starter Ashton Mehler in the bottom of the second inning on a RBI double by Ethan Giangiulio, they s exploded in the third.
Henderson sent 11 batters to the plate, and chased Mehler from the game. Zach Klein started things off by lining a single to left field. Kevin Wheelr then roped an RBI double to left-center field to score Klein.
Eric Lintelman continued the hit parade with another RBI double, then Dean O’Neill unloaded a long two-run homer that cleared the left-field fence with ease and the Warriors had a 4-0 advantage, still with no one out.
“I feel if we could have gotten a couple of those runners across the plate early things may have been different,” Perkiomen Valley assistant coach Andrew Miller said. “But give Henderson credit, they hit the ball hard against our starter and our relievers. They are a very good team.”
The hit parade was not over for the Warriors after O’Neill’s bomb. Smink laced a double to left — one of his three hits on the day. Dylan Grim made the first Warriors out by lining out to center field with Smink going to third base.
Brett McCartney then ripped an RBI single and then Giangiulio reached on a an error. Klein followed with his second hit of the inning, this one a two-run double and the rout was in full effect on. A run-scoring passed ball and a Wheeler sacrifice fly to center and the Warriors had a commanding 10-0 lead.
“I feel our whole team hit the ball well and before the game I was visualizing myself up at the plate,” Klein said. “I just told myself to focus and relax and just see the baseball and that helped me. This is a great feeling to make the state playoffs. I mean, Eddie pitched his butt off for us today and our offense came through for him. We fell short last season and we have been waiting all year for this.”
After Smink cruised through the fourth, the Warriors put two more runs up in the bottom of the inning. O’Neill led off by getting plunked with a pitch. Smink then ripped a double to bring in O’Neill after Grim popped out. McCartney plated the final run with a ground out to second.
Smink set down the Vikings in the fifth as he ended the game by striking out Tyler Bocelli with two on. It was his seventh strikeout of the game and the Warriors had a very impressive 12-0 victory.
“Eddie was real good again for us today,” Henderson coach Luke McNichol said. “He got relaxed out there today. I mean, after we scored those nine runs, any pitcher would get relaxed, but when you’re as good as he is, its going to be very tough for the other team.”
WC Henderson 12, Perkiomen Valley 0, 4 1/2 innings
Perkiomen Valley 000 00-0
WC Henderson 019 2-x-12
WP-Smink. LP- Mehler.
2B-Lintelman, Smink 2, Wheeler, Klein, Ginagiulio. HR-O’Neill.