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Defense Costs Perkiomen in Bux-Mont Playoffs
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            After watching his team overcome a shaky first inning in the field Sunday, Bryan Pijanowski said he thought Perkiomen's American Legion baseball team seemed poised to extend its run in the Bux-Mont playoffs.

            When the Indians rallied for there runs in the bottom of the third inning, 

rallied for three runs in the bottom Pijanowski figured they would provide the margin of victory.

            However, Post 184's defense let the team down in the fourth inning. Consecutive infield errors with two outs allowed Souderton to score three runs during the frame.  The Indians committed five errors in a 9-5 loss to Souderton on the third day of the league playoff tournament at Quakertown's Memorial Park Stadium. The miscues led to six unearned runs.

            The defense let Perkiomen, the No. 3 seed in the eight-team tournament, down for the second time this season, according to Manager Mike Fitzgerald.  "If this were our first loss of the tournament, I would have gone right back to our home field and had every player take 100 ground balls," he said.

            In the first inning, Souderton's initial two hitters reached base on consecutive errors by the Indians. But starting pitcher Trey Livingstone retired the next three hitters to quell the threat. 

"I thought that would bring us back together," said Pijanowski, Post 184's center fielder.

            Souderton took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a wild pitch and an RBI single. An infield error led to the second run.  In the third, the Indians (18-12) rallied for three runs off Souderton left hander Thylar Summerrall to go ahead 3-2.

            Pijanowski drove Justin Wornham onto a single to left field before Logan Curley delivered an RBI ground out. Glenn Boyer's line-single to right capped the rally.

            Pijanowski said he thought the game would end by that score, and his team would advance to the tournament's fourth day. However, Perkiomen's shaky defense opened the door for Souderton in the top of the fourth inning. After issuing a leadoff walk, Livingstone retired the first two hitters on routine ground balls to Wornham at second base. The next two hitters reached after their ground balls to third base were misplayed. Summerrall then delivered a three-run triple off the wall in right field to make it 5-3.

            After Souderton added another unearned run the top of the fifth inning to go ahead 6-3, the Indians rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning. Ben Tryon and Tyler Ritsick each drove in a run with a single up the middle to get them within 6-5.

            However, Post 242 responded with three runs (two earned) in the top of the fifth inning to cap the scoring.

            On Wednesday, July 5, the Indians defeated Lansdale 1-0 in their regular-season finale to secure the No. 3 seed in the tournament.  Wornham accounted for two of their three hits and scored the game's only run on the back end of a double steal in the fifth inning.

            Hunter Gooch and Robert Guzman combined to toss seven shutout innings. Gooch, Perkiomen's starter, allowed four hits in four innings. Guzman took the win with three innings of one-hit ball in relief.

            In the opening round of the playoffs on July 6, Boyer went the distance on the mound against Pennridge, allowing just two base runners. However, the team mustered just five hits and lost 1-0.  Pennridge scored an unearned run in the fourth inning. Ian Kacergis drove in the game's only run on his team's only hit.  "Glenn pitched an amazing game," Fitzgerald said.

            Post 184 threated in the bottom off the first inning, stranding runners on first and second. Livingstone led off the third with single, but ended the inning on third base.  "Out bats were not active against Lansdale," the manager said Saturday night. "They were flat against Pennridge."

            According to Fitzgerald, the team utilized a rain-induced off day Friday to focus on its offense. He said the players spent the day in the batting cage working on their swings and refining their approach at the plate.

            That work paid off in an elimination game against Plumstead on Saturday. Perkiomen rode a six-run, first inning rally to a 10-0, five-inning victory. Ben Tryon finished with two hits and scored two runs, while Boyer and Livingstone added two hits to spark a nine-hit barrage.

            Boyer, Tryon and Livingstone each delivered an RBI-hit during the six-run rally.  "We didn't want to go out in two games," Nolan Graber said.

            On the mound, Graber dominated Plumstead to earn the victory. In 4-2/3 innings, he scattered six hits and registered five strikeouts. However, the manager pulled Graber after 58 pitches so he could be available to pitch Tuesday in the tournament's final day should the team advance that far. Guzman record the final out in the fifth inning.

            Graber favored the move. He and Fitzgerald first discussed the idea Thursday.

            The manager called the move a calculated risk, but said his confidence in Guzman helped convince him to make the decision.






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