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Sports Article
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Key Double Play Helps Perkiomen Win 20th Tri-County League Title
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Correspondent

                Tom Aaron fielded the sharp ground ball hit to his deep backhand, knowing he had only one move to start an inning-ending double play.

                Aaron, Perkiomen School's third baseman, stepped on the bag and uncorked an off-balance throw to first baseman Tets Hashimoto. 

"It got us fired up to win," Panthers pitcher Josh Cruz said.

The play ended a third-inning rally by Barrack Hebrew Academy and helped propel the host Panthers to a 12-3 win Monday in the Tri-County League Championship game.

                Naguan Holden delivered three hits, drove in three and scored twice for the Panthers (17-4), who captured their 20th consecutive league title under head coach Ken Baker.

                "Tradition never graduates," Baker said. "That's our motto. We've got a good group of guys."

                Aaron contributed two hits and drove in four runs for Perkiomen, which will open its state playoffs next week. Joey Pena scored three runs.

                Cruz, who walked one while striking out four, allowed one earned run in seven innings to post the mound victory. He found his groove after the double play, allowing only two base runners in the final four innings.

                "Josh really settled down," Baker said. "He found a good rhythm."  According to the coach, the double play helped keep Cruz in the game. However, Davis said Cruz's RBI-double in the bottom the third helped boost the pitcher's demeanor.  "This game is so mental," Baker said.

                Early on, Cruz seemed unsettled as Perkiomen School's defense struggled. Three errors in the initial three innings helped Barrack Hebrew Academy get within 5-3.  In the third, after allowing a run on a misplayed fly ball, Cruz pitched to Cougars catcher Jack Kolansky with the bases loaded and one out.  Aaron fielded the sharp grounder along the third base line, which ended the rally.

                "It was a big play," said Cruz, who retired the side in the following three innings. "It gave me the confidence that we were going to make some plays in the field. Because I know we are going to hit."

                Cruz's double in the bottom of the third extended Perkiomen School's lead to 6-3 against Cougars starter Sam Turk-Tolub. Three more runs in the fourth on sacrifice flies by Pena and Aaron, along with Holden's RBI-double, staked the team to a 9-3 advantage.  Aaron's three-run double in the sixth capped the scoring.

                The Panthers stole 10 bases off the Barrack Hebrew Academy battery of Turk-Tolub and Kolansky. Five came in the first inning, when they scored four runs to take a 4-2 advantage.  Pena led Perkiomen School with four steals.  Most of the bases were stolen off the pitcher, according to Aaron.

                "We work on reading the pitcher's move all the time," he said.






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