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Tribe Needs to Come Up With Some Wins Quick
Written by Ernie Quatrani Correspondent
2015-04-30

Indians' catcher Jake Breyer tags out the Golden Panthers' runner at the plate in Monday night's game against Pope John Paul at Upper Perk.

Indians baseball postseason play in jeopardy

        Back-to-back losses to Pope John Paul and Perkiomen Valley delivered two more disappointing blows to Upper Perkiomen's hopes for a District I AAA playoff spot. The losses gave the Tribe eight losses in its last nine games after a 4-1 start in the PAC-10.

        The PJP game, a 4-2 loss at Bonekemper Field on Monday night, was typical of the  mystifying downward spiral of a once confident team.

        The Tribe (5-9) had taken a 1-0 lead in the second when Erik Stalford's triple to deep left  scored Glenn Boyer.

        Daron Pijanowski was rolling along on the mound, striking out three in the first three innings. But in the fourth, Amedeo Citro drew a four-pitch walk leading off and eventually came around to score on a one-out single by Matt Bustynowicz to tie the game at one.

        In this losing streak, there always seems to be that one bad inning that costs Upper Perk the game, and the fifth was that frame against PJP (4-8).

        The appropriately named Billy Hittman (3 for 4 with two doubles) roped a single to center on an 0-2 pitch to open the inning.

        "I feel like I threw well. I hit my spots," Pijanowski said. "I made one bad pitch which gave them some momentum."

        Kyle Miller followed by reaching base when Elias Gable-Tripp missed Stalford's throw to first on a grounder, sending Hittman to third. The next hitter, P.J. Heller, got credit for an RBI and a sacrifice fly when Austin Orsini failed to catch his fly ball in right field.

        When Pijanowski walked Citro again to load the bases with no one out, coach Frank Mercon brought in Casey Myers. Rich McGarry greeted Myers with an RBI single and Luke DeLeo followed with another sacrifice fly to make the score 4-1.

        The Tribe wasted golden opportunities to tie or win the game in the last two innings.

PJP starter Kevin Shields walked the bases loaded in the sixth, but Upper Perk got only one run, on Boyer's grounder to second.

        In the seventh, pinch hitter Zach Miller drew Shield's fifth and final walk of the game leading off. Vinnie Togno relieved Shields and was greeted by a single to right off the bat of Jake Breyer. Bryan Pijanowski put down a bunt and beat the throw to first to load the bases with none out.

        With Daron Pijanowski at the plate, Togno uncorked a wild pitch, but catcher Ryan Harvey made a great flip to Togno to nip Miller sliding in.

        "It just seems like right now absolutely nothing is going our way," Mercon lamented after the game.

        The play hurt even more when Pijanowski walked to reload the bases.

        Togno settled down to strike out Brett Fullerton on three pitches. Chris Kachmar then worked the count full before being called out on a questionable third strike to end the game.

        That's the way it goes in a losing streak.

        The Perk Valley game on Tuesday followed a similar script.

        Stalford drove in a run in the top of the sixth and was pitching shutout baseball as the Tribe held a 1-0 lead.

        This time the wheels came off in the bottom of the sixth. The Vikings (9-4) score five runs, three unearned, to take a 5-1 win. PV's Nate Yoder had the big hit, a two run double.

        With four games left, the Tribe is still trying to figure out what happened after the hot start.

        "We are simple not handling adversity right now," Mercon offered. "We were playing confidently; we were loose at the plate. Our pitching was aggressive, attacking the strike zone.

        "Now it seems like we're a little bit more leery to allow the ball in play. Our defense was really good, and now we're struggling a little bit. It really just comes down to the mental side of the game."

        The team still has a chance to make the playoffs but a cure for the slump must be found quickly.

        Daron Pijanowski shared his solution, "We just got to play all seven innings. We just got to keep the intensity up the whole game, every game."


 

 

 

 

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