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Upper Perkiomen Dealing with "New Normal"
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Four games into its new normal, the Upper Perkiomen softball team has embraced its current situation. On Monday, after consecutive losses, the team posted a

Kylene Gooch catches fly ball durin the third inning of 

Upper Perkiomen's victory on Monday.

victory against a large-school opponent without its top pitcher and cleanup hitter.

           Lily Dibble and Dani Freer sparked the Indians to a 6-2 victory over Boyertown in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. Dibble, their new No. 1 pitcher, permitted just two runs on six hits. Freer, a freshman, doubled twice and scored twice in a revamped lineup.

           The team is determined to move forward without Taylor Croak, who suffered a season ending lower body injury during the first week of April, according to head coach Dean Sullivan. He said the injury did not occur on the softball field.

            "We're going to have to find a way to adjust," he said. "We don't have a choice."

            On the mound, Croak displayed flashes on dominance early on. Her presence in Upper Perkiomen's lineup forced opposing pitchers to challenge Morgan Lindsay, the team's standout No. 3 hitter. Now the opposition can work around Lindsay, according to Sullivan.

            "The situation could become frustrating for Morgan," the coach said. "I hope it doesn't get to her."

            The visiting Bears pitched Lindsay carefully, walking her twice and hitting her with a pitch. However, Sierra Fretz and Freer - the team's fourth and fifth hitters, respectively - sparked a pair of three-run rallies. Both scored a run in second and third innings to help the Indians, who recently lost to Methacton and Twin Valley, build a 6-0 lead.

            Kylene Gooch delivered the team's only RBI in the second inning on a ground ball. In the third Fretz and Freer delivered consecutive RBI doubles to highlight the rally. Kelsey Berhart's run scoring single up the middle capped the outburst.      

            "This was a pretty good win," Freer said. "Even without Taylor, I think we can get the job done. I don't believe we'll have to raise our game that much. But we do need to have smarter at-bats."

            On the mound, Dibble allowed a solo home run to Kylie Hertzler in the fourth and a run on a grounder in the sixth. She finished with five strikeouts and issued two walks.

            "Lily did a good job," Sullivan said. "She's going to give up some hits at times, so we have to make sure to outhit those opponents."

            The injury will force the Indians to lean even more on a trio of ninth graders. They ended the game with three on the left side of the field - Gooch at third base, Freer at shortstop and Lynnsi Joyce in left field.

            "We're a very young team," Sullivan said.

            Upper Perkiomen lost 7-2 to Methacton in a conference crossover game on Thursday, April 4. Gail Kooser and Alexa Banner drove in the team's only runs.

            The host Warriors rallied for a single run in the first, fifth and sixth innings off Dibble. They added two more in the third.

            The Indians rolled to a 14-4, five-inning victory over Pottsgrove in a Frontier Division game on Wednesday, April 3. Banner went 3-for-3 with four RBI at the plate to pace a 14-hit barrage.

            Fretz delivered two hits, scored twice and drove in two runs for the Indians, who scored eight runs in the first inning and led 12-0 after two frames. Lindsay and Kooser each added two hits and scored twice.

            Dibble earned the mound victory. She scattered four hits and struck out five in four innings.





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