Early in the baseball season, few would have pegged Spring-Ford as a potential district champion. The Rams were up one game, down the next. Inconsistency was their trademark.

"Yeah, we had a rough start," senior Rich Guthridge said. "We had trouble getting on a winning track. One game, there would be good pitching but not hitting. The next, there was hitting but the pitching wasn't good enough."

Overcoming its early-season woes, Spring-Ford is one of four teams alive in the hunt for a PIAA District 1 Class AAAA championship. Tomorrow at West Chester University, the Rams (15-8) will take on Conestoga (17-5) in a 4 p.m. semifinal.

"We've come together and are playing as a team," Guthridge said. "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves."

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Guthridge is a first baseman and pitcher. A lefthanded thrower and batter, he is hitting about .350 from the cleanup position. On Friday, in a 5-2 victory over Council Rock South, he relieved Jason Ferrie in the bottom of the seventh and mowed down the Golden Hawks in 1-2-3 fashion.

"Rich is a tremendous competitor, a leader, a hard worker," Spring-Ford coach Bruce Brobst said. "He'll do whatever you ask of him to make the team win."

Against C.R. South, southpaws Ferrie and Guthridge combined for a three-hitter. "Jason has been huge for us in the postseason," Guthridge said. "It's great playing behind him. We're relaxed when he's on the mound."

In the second round of districts, the Rams nipped Pioneer Athletic Conference champion Boyertown, 4-3.

Spring-Ford's other leaders are senior shortstop Zak Tupper, junior centerfielder Denny Custer, and senior catcher Anthony Quintangeli.

Guthridge, who lives in Schwenksville, will play baseball at Ursinus. For the Spring-Ford football team, he was a two-way end and punter. As a defensive end, he earned second-team all-conference honors.