Perkiomen Valley's ground-breaking season runs out of road


ASTON – Matt Szczesny slowly packed away his baseball gear before leaving the Perkiomen Valley dugout for the final time Thursday.

The Vikings season had run out of road after a 3-0 loss to District 1 champion Pennsbury in the state 6A quarterfinals at Neumann University, and the senior catcher and Gettysburg recruit was feeling the pain.

“When you don’t win, it’s never a good thing,” said Szczesny, the undeniable linchpin of a PV team that broke new ground this season, winning the first state playoff game in program history and finishing 16-9 overall. “We had a bunch of games where we did everything right, played near perfect. But that didn’t happen today, and that’s just baseball.”

Perk Valley uncharacteristically committed a long list of baseball sins Thursday – getting two runners picked off, committing three errors leading to a pair of unearned runs, including one that crossed on a balk call on junior starting pitcher Mike Gama, who worked six solid innings but absorbed the loss.

“We did some stuff today that we didn’t do all year long,” said PV coach Ryan Hinkle. “We bobbled the ball in the infield, threw some away, and had some baserunning mistakes, and they took advantage of that. We had some opportunities (offensively) but didn’t capitalize.”

The Falcons (20-6), who move on to face District 11 champion Liberty (8-0 winners over Frankford) in the 6A state semis Monday, broke through with a run in the first when Dave Murphy’s two-out, RBI-single  plated Tyrone Hodges (2-3, two runs) from second base.

That would turn out to be enough for Pennsbury senior right-handers Ryan McCarty, who needed 91 pitches to get through his five-hit, complete-game shutout.

Perk Valley had just one runner reach third base and left five stranded despite getting a pair of hits from senior third baseman Dylan Boyd.

‘My mental preparation was key,” said McCarty, who pitched to contact with one strikeout and one walk. “I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes. I relied on my fastball, but my secondary pitch – the curveball – was working.

“Scoring that first run was a confidence booster.  Those pickoff plays also gave me a big boost of confidence. That is something we work on a lot at practice – defensive drills.”

Pristine defensive execution paid off the Falcons, with catcher Josh Tesarck gunning down Mark Ott trying to steal second base in the second inning in addition to the well-orchestrated, rally-killing pickoff plays.

Conversely, Perk Valley did not get the job done in the field.

Gama’s wild pickoff throw at first enabled pinch-runner Jake Martell to reach third base in the fifth inning, preceding the balk call that made it 2-0.

Pennsbury tacked on an insurance run in the seventh as Hodges singled with two outs, moved to third when PV first baseman Tyler Strechay failed to come up with a pickoff throw from reliever Jamie Glass, and scored on another infield error.

McCarty turned away the Vikings in order in the bottom of the seventh, and an historic PV season was officially in the books.

“We set new standards this season,” Hinkle said. “We made the PAC Final Four, got to the state playoffs for the first time and won a game there.  We finished in the top eight teams in the entire state.”

Pennsbury 3, Perkiomen Valley 0
Perk Valley
Hodges lf3220 Szczesny c3010
Bethel 2b3000 D'Abbene ss3000
Massielo ss4000 Boyd 3b3020
Murphy dh2021 Jampo rf2000
Huth rf0000 Ott cf3010
McCarty p2010 Helverson dh3010
Price 3b3000 Gama p1000
Dear 1b3000 Whitton ph1000
Tesarck c3110 Strechay 1b3000
V. Ward cf3000 McCourt lf2000
Totals26361 Totals24050
Pennsbury              100 010 1 - 3
Perk Valley              000 000 0 - 0
E-Massielo, Boyd, Gama, Strechay. DP-PV 1. S-Bethel, Gama. SB-Hodges. CS-Ott. LOB-Pennsbury 6, Perk Valley 5.
McCarty (W)7.050011- Gama (L)6.052122-