The Boyertown Area Times
Hurter sees out Boyertown’s 6-3 win over Upper Perk in rematch of last year’s PAC final
Ella Hurter was comfortable, dealing from the circle for Boyertown inning after inning on Wednesday. But in the bottom of the seventh, Upper Perkiomen’s softball team threw off that rhythm.
The Bears saw a 6-1 lead shrink after two late runs, and with the bases loaded with one out, Boyertown’s junior southpaw needed to tap back into that groove she was in all game.
“I just knew I had to throw the right pitches and my team would back me up,” Hurter said.
After Hurter struck out her following batter, a flyout to right field pulled the Bears out of their late jam.
Boyertown defeated the Indians, 6-3 on the latter’s field as Hurter finished with 15 strikeouts, five hits allowed and two walks.
The game was a re-run of last year’s Pioneer Athletic Conference championship, the last meeting between the two in which Hurter struck out 10 with one hit for the Bears’ first PAC title since 2011.
A pitcher’s duel between Hurter and Indians ace Madalyn Dyer — both All-Mercury second team selections — took place last year for the conference title. And on Wednesday, Dyer was dealing right back, striking out nine with seven hits and a walk through six innings.
“I didn’t really think about that,” Hurter said on her squad’s last bout with the Indians (4-4, 2-0). “I was just thinking, ‘It’s a new game, go out there and win.’”
Aubrey Gilbert led off the game with a walk and Hurter (2-for-4, two runs, RBI) drove her in with a base hit to go up 1-0 off the rip. From there, Boyertown
(6-1, 1-0) got two runners on with one out before Lindsay Mathias (3-for-4, run, two RBIs) belted a two-run double out to the left-center fence to go up 3-0.
In the top of the fourth, Mathias led off with a single, worked her way to third and came home on a wild pitch to give the Bears a 4-0 cushion. Meanwhile, Hurter struck out her first nine batters of the day, pitching lights-out in each bottom frame up to that point.
“I did start I think four freshmen today, so it’s good for them to see one of the dominant pitchers in the league,” Upper Perkiomen coach Dean Sullivan said. “Maybe we’ll get to see her in the PAC playoffs if we get that far and they get to learn from this game.”
The Indians didn’t reach base until the bottom of the fourth inning. Junior second baseman Darby Gasda was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and two outs later, Dyer belted a line drive up center to bring her home, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
Dyer advanced to third base on the play and with a courtesy runner in her place, a flyout prevented Upper Perkiomen from dealing any more damage in the inning.
From that point on, Boyertown’s fielders started creating outs behind Hurter as the Indians began to find their looks. In total, the Bears pieced together four 1-2-3 innings.
“Everyone came together to do what they needed to do to help (Hurter) out since she was coming up big for them in the beginning,” Boyertown coach Kim Musselman said on the Bears’ fielding. “I think that helps her, knowing they have her back. I was a pitcher, so it’s nice to know it’s not just your job to strike everybody out. It’s your job to put the ball in play.”
Alexis Laboy responded with an RBI double in the top of the fifth to go back up four runs. Two innings later, Hurter doubled before being brought home by Mathias to extend the
Bears’ lead, 6-1 prior to Upper Perkiomen’s last-inning rally.
That surge from the Indians began with runners on the corners and a Genevieve McKeehan RBI single. It continued with a walk from Erin Gray to cut the game to three runs.
“(Hurter) pitched awesome. She’s a good player, good pitcher. I think if you get some baserunners on it kind of rattles her a bit, so we were able to get some baserunners on,” Sullivan said. “We struck out 15 times, which is God awful, but putting the pressure on in the end, it was kind of a building block for our team.”
Upper Perkiomen sits at No. 2 in District 1 Class 4A and is looking to build up to a sixth straight PAC Frontier title, having won the last five around a COVID19-canceled season.
Boyertown is ranked No. 8 in District 1-6A with reigning state champion Spring-Ford on deck Friday in a major PAC Liberty game.
“The confidence is high,” Hurter said. “We know we can beat any team if we put our minds to it.”