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Sports Article
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Gasda Takes Her Lumps to Help Tribe Softball Succeed
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Darby Gasda didn't flinch after getting hit in the head with a pitch leading off against Pottsgrove last week. As Upper Perkiomen's leadoff hitter, the junior's top priority is starting rallies.

Upper Perkiomen's Emma Davidheiser lunges to field the ball

against Pottstown.

            Gasda scored twice and added an RBI single in her team's 4-1 victory over Pottsgrove on Friday, April 14. As its leadoff hitter, she achieved her two main goals, which are forcing the opposing pitcher to throw multiple pitches and get on base.
            The junior set the table for the visiting Tribe, reaching base on three of her four plate appearances. The team made enough contact to push home unearned runs in the first and second innings before adding single runs in the fifth and seventh innings against Pottsgrove pitcher Mikayla Eckman.
            "When you put the ball in play, good things happen," Upper Perkiomen head coach Dean Sullivan said.

            After watching his team strike out 15 times against Boyertown two days before the Pottsgrove game, Sullivan said he was concerned about how the Tribe would respond against the Falcons, the Tribe's main Frontier Division rival.

            At practice the day between the games, the coach set up four hitting stations at practice to emphasize the importance of making contact.

            Gasda got the Indians off on the right foot to open the game with a different type of contact when a pitch deflected off her helmet.
            Midway through the season, Gasda has gotten used to reaching base this way. She's averaging nearly one hit-by-pitch per game and has been plunked in six of the team's 10 games.    "I'll do whatever I can to get on base," Gasda said.
            After moving to second base on a wild pitch, she crossed the plate on a throwing error by Pottsgrove's third baseman. One inning later, her single drove home Maddie Deeble, who had reached on a bunt hit and advanced to third on a throwing error.
            In the fifth, Gasda worked a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second, took third on a wild pitch and came home on Elizabeth Proctor's infield hit. The Indians extended their lead to 4-0 in the seventh inning with a two-out double by Proctor and a line single up the middle from Madalyn Dyer.
            On the mound, Dyer dominated the Falcons. She struck out 12 and scattered four hits.
            Pottsgrove did not go quietly, however. After scoring their only run, the Falcons brought the tying run to the plate with no outs. However, Dyer struck out the final three hitters to secure the victory.
            "Maddy was sharp," Sullivan said.

            On Monday, the Tribe needed only five innings to defeat Pottstown 10-0. Emma Davidheiser paced a 10-hit attack with three hits, including a double. She drove in three runs, scored three runs and stole two bases.

            Maddie Deeble contributed two hits and drove in a run for the host Indians, who tallied four runs in the first inning and scored in every frame. Kristina Molnar had a triple and drove in two runs.

            Gray earned the mound victory. She scattered five hits over five innings.

            On April 12, Boyertown's Ella Hurter dominated the host Indians (6-4 overall, 5-1 PAC). She registered 15 strikeouts to lead her team to a 6-3 victory in a rematch of last season's Pioneer Athletic Conference title game.

            The Indians managed just five hits off Hurter, the Bears ace left-hander and fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first.

            Hurter added two hits and scored two runs at the plate for the Bears, who rallied for three runs in the first inning against Dyer. Lindsay Mathias' two-run double highlighted the outburst.

            Dyer lasted six innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits. The Upper Perkiomen senior registered nine strikeouts.

            Dyer, Genevieve McKeehan and Erin Gray drove in runs for the Indians. Gasda and Ryan Berg each finished with a hit and a run.






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