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Sports Article
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Upper Perk Fall Ball Team Goes Undefeated in Regular Season
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent

Upper Perk catcher Ben Tryon tags out a Fort Washington Generals runners as he tries to score Sunday's final game of the season in the fall league.

        Elias Gabel-Tripp emerged a leader on Upper Perkiomen's fall baseball team out of necessity.

        "I looked around and realized I was one of the oldest guys on the team," he said. "And I got the feeling all the younger players were looking up to me."

        According to Gabel-Tripp, the team's younger players looked to him to help lead them to victories. The senior says the responsibility makes him feel more integral to the team's success.

        "I like helping out my teammates as much as playing the game," he said.

        This fall, Gabel-Tripp's performance on the field helped his squad – which included eight returning members of Perkiomen's American Legion baseball team and several new players – reach the championship game of the Rising Stars League. The team also competed in four showcase tournaments, reaching the title game of the Brooklyn Showcase in Easton against a field of 18-U travel teams.

        Upper Perkiomen's fall team ended its 31-game season Sunday with a 10-inning victory over a club from Ft. Washington at Bonekemper Field.

        A long single to right by Gabel-Tripp scored Logan Curley and lifted the team to a 3-2 win. Robert Guzman allowed just two hits and registered nine strikeouts in six shutout innings to earn the mound victory.

        Guzman and Gabel-Tripp, who started on the mound and allowed two hits and one earned run through four innings, combined for 16 strikeouts.

        Gabel-Tripp went 3-for-5 with two RBI for Upper Perkiomen (24-7). He finished the fall with a .409 batting average, a 76-point improvement over the summer. The left hander struck out 28 and walked 16 in 25 innings on the mound.

        "Elias has really stepped up," said Mike Fitzgerald, Perkiomen's manager, who is also coaching the fall team.

        The coach called the fall season an important extension of the Post 184's Bux-Mont Legion League championship season. According to Fitzgerald, several members of the team that reached the Region 2 Tournament couldn't wait to get back on the field.

        "It wasn't long until the disappointment wore off," the coach said. "The guys really wanted to get back to playing baseball."

        According to Fitzgerald, 20 players signed up to compete in the six-team league - based in Center Valley - with teams from Pottstown, Doylestown and neighboring Perkiomen School.

        Members of the roster from the championship Indians included Bryan Pijanowski, Glenn Boyer, Brett Fullerton, Ben Tryon, Nolan Graber, Kacey Myers and Gabel-Tripp as well as and several players who graduated from the Upper Perkiomen Jr. Legion Braves.

        "Usually, we don't have enough players to field a team," Gabel-Tripp said. "More kids are getting focused on baseball, and I think playing the fall is a way to hone your skills."

        Players were encouraged to focus on the game's finer points. Batters were instructed to work on hitting behind a runner and improving their pitch recognition.

        According to Fitzgerald, the team's collective offense has improved significantly in the fall. It finished the season with four home runs – three more than Perkiomen's total this summer – nine triples, and 38 doubles.

        Players also used the season to learn a new position. According to Fitzgerald, William Curley - a junior at Upper Perkiomen who played second base on the high school JV team last spring - played the outfield during the fall.

        Fitzgerald said the move appears to be working out for Curley, who threw out a runner at the plate one of the team's showcase tournaments.

        "William understands that he becomes more valuable if he can play multiple positions," the coach said.

        Upper Perkiomen's fall team went undefeated in league play during the regular season, which featured free substitution. The team's 10-0 record included a victory over Levi Stoudt, who pitched for Perkiomen School.

        But in the title game, Stoudt – who pitches for Perkiomen's American Legion baseball team – and Josh Cruz combined to no-hit Upper Perkiomen in a 3-0 victory over Upper Perkiomen on Oct. 18. Perkiomen School scored three runs on two hits in the fourth inning off Boyer.

        "If you're going to get beat by someone, it might as well be him," Fitzgerald said of Stoudt, who tossed six innings in the game.

        Perkiomen School's fall roster featured 25 players, according to head coach Ken Baker. He said the returning players included Stoudt, Cruz, Christian del Toro, Jared Sapirman, Devon Crossin, Saul DeLeon and Marlon Lindsey.






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