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Tribe Misses District Playoffs Despite Consecutive Extra-Inning Victories
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-05-19

            Consecutive extra-inning rallies highlighted Upper Perkiomen's final two games of the season. Despite celebrating recent victories over Pope John Paul II and Upper Merion in dog piles, the players will miss the District One Class 5A playoffs.

            According to head coach Frank Mercon, the Indians (9-7) needed to win their final two games and have Penncrest and Interboro lose Monday. However, both teams won.

            "[Our record] should have gotten us in," said Mercon, whose team finished two spots out of the tournament, which will include 12 teams. "The guys did everything they could."

            On Monday, the Tribe rallied from a late seven-run deficit to post a 10-9 victory over the Panthers at Bonekemper Field. Ryan Peterson delivered the walk-off hit in the bottom of the eighth inning.

            Three days earlier, they overcame an early four-run deficit to post a 6-5 win over the visiting Vikings. Malachi Duka's single ended the team's first extra-inning game of the season.

            Against Pope John Paul II, the Indians trailed 7-0 midway through the fifth inning. However, they rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fifth. Evan Shade's two-run double highlighted the outburst. They added two more runs in the sixth inning to force a tie.  "We made so many mental mistakes," Mercon said, who added that Shade's fifth-inning double settled the team. "We dug ourselves a big hole.

            Pope John Paul scored two unearned runs off Evan Wittig in the top of the eighth to go ahead 9-7. However, the Tribe rallied again in the bottom of the inning.

            Ian Ferrero delivered a leadoff triple before two hit batsmen loaded the bases. After one run scored on a double-play grounder, Braden Rieg's double forged a 9-9 tie. Peterson then ended the game with a single.

            Ferrero paced Upper Perkiomen's 13-hit barrage with three hits and three runs scored.  Duka finished with three hits and two runs scored. Shade posted two hits, drove in two and scored twice. Conor Martin and Rieg each had two RBI. Wittig earned the mound win with 3 2/3 innings of relief.

            On Friday, May 14, the team rallied from an early four-run deficit to win 6-5 in eight innings over Upper Merion.
            Shade, the team's third pitcher, recorded the final three outs to record the mound victory. Gabe Repstik tossed five-plus solid innings of relief to help allow the Indians to rally from a 4-0 deficit.

            Mercon called it the team's hardest fought victory of the season. He described it as a must-win. Even in the seventh inning, the coach said he always felt the team was in the game. "We needed to get the first run and start feeling comfortable," Mercon said. "Things just kept rolling for us."

            Duka ended up on the bottom of a dog pile on the right side of the infield after delivering the winning hit with the bases loaded against the Vikings after swinging through two fastballs. He then lined a fastball to left field to cap the comeback.
            "Malachi adjusted to what he was seeing," the coach said. "It was a great at-bat."
            Trailing 5-4 in the eighth, the team took advantage of two hits, two walks and a hit batsman to score twice. Martin sparked the rally with a leadoff double to left center field.
            "That's when my good feelings about the inning started," Mercon said.
            Pinch runner Logan Smith scored the tying run when leadoff hitter Michael Sharadin was hit by a pitch.
            Down 4-0 midway through the third inning, the Tribe crawled its way back into the game. It scored once in the bottom of the third on Dalton Dunlap's ground ball.
            Sharadin's RBI single in the fourth inning pulled the Indians within 4-2. They forged a 4-4 tie one inning later on Rieg's two-run single off Upper Merion starting pitcher Matt Devonshire.
            Repstik, a senior, restored order to the game after coming on with a run in and a runner on third with no outs. He struck out the three hitters he faced to end the rally.
            Mercon said he was looking for a low leverage opportunity to use Reptsik after a difficult outing against Boyertown one month earlier.
            "We really needed what he gave us," Mercon said of Reptsik, who permitted two earned runs on two hits while striking out six.

 


 

 

 

 

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