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Sports Article
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Indians Softball Clinches State Tournament Berth
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Upper Perkiomen's softball team won't be celebrating a third consecutive district title. However, the team is heading back to state tournament.

           Last week, the Indians qualified for the PIAA Class 5A Tournament with a

Dani Freer dives back to first base agains Upper

Dublin on Wednesday.  Freer finished with three

hits in the 10-1 win over the Cardinals.

10-1 victory over Upper Dublin in the second round of the District One Class 5A Tournament. On Friday, May 24, their bid for a third straight district crown ended in an 8-1 loss to top-seeded West Chester East in the district semifinals.

            "It's very exciting, especially with a young team," head coach Dean Sullivan said Tuesday morning. "We've wiggled our way out of some tough spots, and put ourselves in a good position."

            Inclement weather postponed Tuesday's scheduled third place district game between Upper Perkiomen and Upper Merion. The Pioneer Athletic Conference rivals were slated to play Wednesday afternoon for seeding in states, which begins Monday. The winner will take on the champion from District 2 or District 4. The loser is scheduled to face the District 3 champion.

            According to Sullivan, his expectations changed slightly after Taylor Croak, the team's top pitcher and No. 4 hitter, suffered a season-ending injury in April. He lauded the performance of Croak's replacement, Lily Dibble.

            "Lily came in and did what she had to do," the coach said. "We need to play good defense behind her. She's more of a spin pitcher than a power pitcher."

            On Wednesday, May 22, the team relied on its potent offense and supported Dibble with near flawless defense to post a 10-1 victory over Upper Dublin in the second round of the districts.

            Morgan Lindsay, Dani Freer and Sierra Fretz each delivered three hits for the fourth-seeded Indians (16-7), who travel to No. 1 seed West Chester East on Friday for a semifinal round game Friday. Lindsay, their No. three hitter, homered. Freer, the No. four seed, doubled. Fretz, their No. five hitter who also homered, finished a triple short of the cycle.

            Dibble allowed one run on seven hits for Upper Perkiomen, which qualified for the states for the third consecutive year. The sophomore, who permitted a single run in the second, registered three strikeouts and did not issue walk.

            Dibble was supported by near-flawless defense. The Indians did not commit an error. Third baseman Kelsey Bernhart recorded consecutive standout plays in the second inning, making a diving catch of a bunt and diving to her left to snare a line drive. They threw out an Upper Dublin runner at the plate on a double to right center field to ending the inning.

            Upper Perkiomen rallied for four runs on four hits in the third inning to snap a 1-1 tie. Freer delivered an RBI hit and scored ahead of Fretz's homer to left field.

            Freer's RBI double in the fourth inning highlighted a three-run rally. Lynnsi Joyce added a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Lindsay's solo shot an inning later capped the scoring.

            Two days later, in their district semifinal game Friday, the Indians lost 8-1 to top-seeded West Chester East. The host Vikings, who finished with 15 hits, advantage of four errors to register six unearned runs off Dibble.

            Jenna Sullivan and Joyce each finished with two hits for Upper Perkiomen, which trailed 3-0 after the first inning due to poor defensive play. Kelsey Bernhart scored the team's only run in the third inning.

            According to the coach, the early deficit prevented the Indians from relying on their speed and bunting acumen. They stranded seven base runners in the initial three innings.






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