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Third Inning Outburst Eliminates Panthers from States
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2022-05-25

            Perkiomen School's baseball team struggled to deal with the psychological turmoil it experienced during the third inning Tuesday. Penn Charter's

Panthers shortstop Ryan Stubblefield misses the tag as 

the ball escapes his glove as a Penn Charter runner slides

safely into second.

offensive outburst delivered an insurmountable deficit.

            The Panthers stay in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association State Tournament ended quickly. They lost 12-1 in five innings in the quarterfinal round at Baker Field.

            A four home run outburst in the third inning by the visiting Quakers propelled them to the semifinals. Head coach Ken Baker described it as Perkiomen School's first loss by 10-run rule in the state tournament during his long tenure.

            Chris Catania and Juan Sanchez accounted for the Panthers' two hits. Erick Diaz drove in their only run in the first inning.

            Penn Charter, the No. 7 seed, exploded for seven runs on eight hits, including four long home runs to snap a 1-1 tie. Five different hitters went deep.

            "Hitting is contagious," Baker said. "It's just like COVID. When one person gets it, everyone else does, too."

            Down 1-0, the Quakers forced a 1-1 tie by scoring an unearned run in the second inning off Perkiomen School starting pitcher Shane Baird. Scott Doran's two-out single to right scored Tim Ford, who reached on an infield error.  "We opened the door for them in the second inning," Baker said. "You can't make mistakes against a team of this caliber."

            Then in the third inning, Penn Charter sent 11 hitters to the plate. It rallied for seven consecutive hits, five of which went for extra bases. Shawn Flynn's leadoff homer, to left field, put his team ahead for good.

            The Quakers then smacked three more homers in their next six plate appearances. Vincent Fattore, Aiden Metha and Tim Ford each delivered two-run shots.

            "That was too much to overcome emotionally," said Baker, who added that his team had never allowed four home runs in one inning.

            Doran's two-run homer capped Penn Charter's four-run rally in the fourth inning. He finished with three RBI. The junior, who has made a verbal commitment to continue his career at Pitt, earned the mound victory. He went the distance, allowing just two hits and striking out eight.

            Baker expressed concerns that the Panthers (20-2) had the quality of starting pitching to make a run at a state title. He lamented the timing of the loss.  "A lot of times there are as many lessons to be learned from a loss like this as a victory," the coach said.

            Moving forward, the Panthers need to play more challenging opponents, according to Baker. He said they need to face a team like the Quakers, a middle of the road team from the Inter-Ac League, two or three times a week. Inclement weather cost them five games against quality opponents (two against Malvern Prep, and one each versus The Hun School, Lawrenceville and Chestnut Hill Academy).

            Playing an independent schedule might be the team's best path to a state title. Baker would consider pulling the team out of the Penn-Jersey Athletic Association. However, he said the danger of that move, due the unpredictability of the spring weather, is only playing 15 games.


 

 

 

 

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