LIMERICK — Perkiomen Valley head coach Dan McLaughlin was worried.
Worried because his team captain and starting right fielder Brenna Sermarini was injured moments before the Vikings took the field against PAC-10 leader, Spring-Ford.
Worried because his team lacked rest after Thursday's scheduled game time was pushed up three hours from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m.
And lastly, worried about how his team — coming off a momentous victory over Owen J. Roberts on the previous night — would respond to playing back-to-back big games.
It took just a little more than two innings for McLaughlin to get his answer.
Alex Haines hit a critical two-RBI single in the third inning while Emily Oltman produced her second two-hitter in as many days as the Vikings racked up 20 hits and 12 unanswered runs en route to a 12-1 victory over Spring-Ford on Friday afternoon.
The win was Perkiomen Valley's eighth straight since falling to Pottsgrove, 4-3, on April 9.
"Any time you can beat Spring-Ford it's a big win,' McLaughlin said. "Our cleanup hitter, our team captain (Brenna Sermarini) got injured before the game and couldn't' play. I was worried how we would respond to that, and how we would respond to playing big games back-to-back, especially with the Owen J. game last night.'
"It feels good because they (the Rams) were leading the league,' Haines, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI, said. "We've come together as a team at the right time.'
For Spring-Ford, the loss to Perkiomen Valley was its worst loss since it fell to Boyertown, 13-3, on April 26, 2013.
"They (Perkiomen Valley) hit the ball, they fielded the ball and we did stuff that was uncharacteristic,' Spring-Ford coach Tim Hughes. "Bad errors, bad coaching, bad playing, bad everything. They outcoached us, they outdid us in everything.
"In twenty years that was one of the most lackluster efforts that me and the team gave.'
The Rams pushed across a run courtesy of two errors and a fielder's choice by Morgan Maziarz in the first inning while starting pitcher Amber Sergas kept the Vikings' bats at bay. However, the game started to spiral out of control in the third.
Nicole Bangert, who finished a career-best 4-for-5, ripped a double to deep left before a bunt single by AnaMarie Bruni put runners on first and third with no outs. Rachel Helverson then laced a line drive through the hole to knot the game at 1-1, prompting Hughes to sub in Jenna Lee for his starting right-hander.
Lee didn't fare much better as she issued a bases loaded walk to Kelsey Impink before Haines tagged an offering to left for a two-RBI single and a 4-1 Vikings lead.
"Getting that hit felt good,' Haines said. "It was nerve-wracking because I had two strikes. I just tried to get it in play.'
The Vikings added three more in the fourth as Erin Hallahan — who filled the place of Sermarini at cleanup — knocked in Bangert with an RBI fielder's choice before Noelle McCullough smacked a two-RBI single to center to bring home Bruni and Impink and give the Vikings a 7-1 lead. Hallahan finished the game 3-for-5 with one run and one RBI.
"I was planning on platooning Hallahan but she stepped up in her first at bat and got a hold of one,' McLaughlin said. "I told the girls that you need to be ready whenever, and she was ready to go.'
The lead was more than enough for Oltman. Coming off a two-hit, 13-strikeout performance against the Wildcats, the sophomore right-hander, settled down after allowing the first-inning run. She faced the minimum in three of the next six innings and allowed two hits while striking out six and walking three.
"Oltman pitched well,' McLaughlin said. "She's doing a great job for us.'
The Vikings added two more runs in the fifth off of Sergas — who re-entered the game for Lee in the fourth — before adding three in the sixth and the seventh off Becca Faust to close out the 12-1 victory.
"I'm proud of our girls. They are learning to play no matter the situation,' McLaughlin said.
"It was definitely big,' Bangert added. "Coming off the game last night, a big win against Owen J., we just tried to keep the bats going and we did that today. We kept our focus and stayed up on them.
"Emily (Oltman) was excellent, we couldn't ask better from her.'
Eight of the starting nine for the Vikings registered hits in the win. Impink finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs scored. ... The Vikings left 13 runners on base to Spring-Ford's six. ... Sergas took the loss for Spring-Ford, going four innings while allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits while striking out two and walking none. Lee allowed two earned runs on one hit while walking three in one inning of work. ... Spring-Ford committed four errors on the day; Perkiomen Valley had two.
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