PERKIOMEN — With the playoffs just around the corner, Upper Moreland isn’t planning on slowing down.
The top team in Bux-Mont Connie Mack avenged its only loss of the season Wednesday night at Central Perk, settling in after an up-and-down start. While the hosts hung around for a bit, once the Falcons got going, they pulled away.
Upper Moreland picked up a 10-3 win over Central Perk in a five-inning game shortened by darkness at Perkiomen Valley High School in the penultimate regular season game for both sides.
“We stayed focused, tried to hit the ball to the right places and scored runs through good base-running,” Upper Moreland first baseman Sean Dallahan said. “It all worked out for us tonight.”
Upper Moreland has locked up the top seed for next week’s eight-team, double-elimination tournament, with Hatfield-Towamencin in second and Deep Run holding the third seed. Central Perk entered the night holding the fourth seed ahead of Montgomery Township but the host side wasn’t able to pick up a second win this season over the Falcons.
For two innings, it looked like CP was going to have a shot at the upset as the teams went run-for-run. After UM took a 1-0 lead, Central Perk responded with a run and the hosts would plate two in the bottom of the second after the visitors put two over the plate in the top half of the frame.
When UM plated four runs in the third and starting pitcher Karan Acharya put up a zero in the home half of the inning, the tide turned.
“It kind of went downhill after that,” Central Perk catcher Joey McGurkin said. “We weren’t loud. We’re usually loud and pretty annoying, which sometimes get under the other team’s skin and gets us fired up. We didn’t really have that after the first two innings and it kind of ruined it for us.”
Acharya tossed four innings on the mound but also aided his cause quite a bit at the plate. His first at-bat led to a drive to right that got the outfielder turned around for a double, he hit a sac fly during the third inning and belted a leadoff triple in the fifth that turned into a run on a Central Perk error.
On the mound, the right-hander’s slider was dialed in all game, but his control was a little off early with a pair of wild pitches leading to both CP runs in the second. Following the team’s trend, when Acharya settled in, he was in control.
“Our defense did really well and made the plays, we just had a couple wild throws here and there that needed to be cleaned up,” Acharya said. “Staying focused and keeping your cool is the main part. My fastball was off for the first couple innings but my slider kept me going.”
Connor English’s RBI single in the third was the go-ahead run, with Acharya’s sac fly and a two-run hit from Colin Williams adding up to a 7-3 lead UM never looked back from. The Falcons scored at least one run in all five frames thanks in part to the lower end of the order working to keep things moving.
Dallahan, who batted in the No. 10 spot, reached base three times with his leadoff walk in the fourth turning into a run on Nick Harley’s sac fly and his single in the fifth scoring Jacob Hemschell. With productive top of the order hitters, Dallahan said it was important to give them as many chances as possible.
“I knew I had to get on and trust them to get a hit,” Dallahan said.
“We slowed it down and used our quickness to our advantage,” Acharya added. “We have a lot of guys that can run the bases well and we can hit very well, you can always count on the top of our lineup for a hit.”
Central Perk finishes its season Friday night at Hatfield-Towamencin. The Titans edged CP earlier this season and McGurkin said he and his teammates will be looking to get back on the right track heading into the postseason.
“I definitely know we’re capable of beating anybody,” McGurkin said. “We lost to a few of the lower teams early in the year, but once we started having fun, we came together and won five straight. It was all about having fun, talking in the dugout and staying energetic. You can’t worry about getting down when you make an out, you have to start cheering the next teammate.”
Upper Moreland faces Deep Run Thursday to finish the regular season. With an experienced roster, the Falcons are looking forward to the increased stakes of next week’s tournament.
“We have a good team chemistry,” Dallahan said. “We know what we can do and we’ve been able to come out every game and do it.”
“Everybody has good experience and camaraderie, we’ve played well together throughout the season and it’s kept working,” Acharya said. “I look forward to competing, the playoff environment is always different, so I’m looking forward to it.”
UPPER MORELAND 124 12 – 10 9 1
CENTRAL PERK 120 00 – 3 3 3