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Atcheson's walk-off pushes Punxsy into final

June 28, 2011

McKenzie Atcheson hits a walk-off single during the Punxsy Little League softball All-Stars' 10-9 victory over Brookville Monday night at Harry Noerr Field. Punxsy will play at DuBois at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the District 10 Southern tier title game. (Zak Lantz/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — After Brookville scored two runs to tie the score in the top of the sixth, Punxsy's McKenzie Atcheson hit a walk-off single with two outs on a bang-bang play at first base to drive in Sam Satterlee and give Punxsy a 10-9 win in Little League softball All-Star action Monday night in Punxsutawney.

Punxsy's next game will be against DuBois, who sent Punxsy to the losers' bracket with an 11-0 win Saturday. The rematch will be played Wednesday night in DuBois.

If DuBois wins, it will head to the District 10 title game against the Northern champion. Punxsy must beat DuBois Wednesday and Thursday to advance to the District 10 championship.

Punxsy coach Carl Medsger said that although the game was closer than he would have preferred, he was glad to be advancing in the tournament.

"I'm just very proud of the girls, and I think that Brookville's team is really good," Medsger said. "It's just too bad only one team can move on."

Punxsy had only six hits, notching one in each inning, but made the most of six walks and three hit batsmen by Brookville pitcher Elaina Powell. Seven of Punxsy's runs were scored by players who were walked or hit by a pitch.

As was the case in its first win over Brockway, Punxsy was aggressive on the base paths, stealing 12 bases and advancing on any passed ball that strayed far enough away from Brookville catcher Laken Hergert.

"We were being aggressive," Medsger said. "Their catcher was good, so we had to do a little bit of distracting. We have to be aggressive on the base paths, because we don't always get the big hit."

Brookville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning after Hali Olson led off the game with a single, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Powell and scored a groundout by Hergert. Powell scored when Mckenzie Ganoe reached on an error, and Ganoe scored on a single by Elliette Park.

Punxsy answered with two runs in the bottom of the first. Kiersten Nestel was walked and scored on a triple to right-center field by Ali Lunger. Lunger scored on a sacrifice fly by Ishman.

Punxsy took the lead with two runs in the second. Atcheson was hit by a pitch and Morgan Van Leer was walked, and both scored on groundouts by Morgan Adamson and Taylor Medsger, respectively.

Brookville regained the lead, 5-4, in the third on an RBI single to right field by Elliette Park, who advanced to third and scored on two throwing errors.

Punxsy scored two runs in the third inning on a two-run single by Atcheson and added two runs in the fourth to take the lead, 8-5.

Brookville was on a roll in the fifth, scoring two runs and putting the tying run on base with two outs before Punxsy right fielder Kim Shoemaker made a great running catch to close out the inning.

Punxsy scored one run in the fifth, giving it a two-run lead going into the final inning, as Atcheson scored on a passed ball.

Ishman struck out Caitlyn Park and forced a groundout from Olson to get two quick outs in the sixth, but Brookville managed to tie the game, 9-9, when Brooke Hummel scored on an error, and Hergert drove in Powell with a single.

Punxsy's defense came up big again with two outs, though, when Atcheson caught a pop-up against the backstop to end the threat.

In the home half of the sixth, Satterlee led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball, but Powell was able to strike out Punxsy's next two batters to put the team one out from sending the game to extra innings.

Atcheson hit a sharp grounder and hustled down the base path to beat the throw as Satterlee crossed the plate, solidifying the win.

Ishman, Punxsy's starting pitcher, had another strong outing, throwing a complete game and picking up the win. Ishman allowed eight hits and struck out eight.

"Alli really doesn't get rattled," manager Medsger said. "So, we can go with her all the way sometimes, and tonight it worked out great."

The loss was Brookville's second of the tournament, eliminating it from contention, but manager Mark Powell had encouraging words for his team.

"I just said, 'Keep your heads up,'" Powell said. "The girls made us all proud by fighting at the end, and it takes a lot of hard work to get better. That's what we plan to do over the next couple months, is to keep practicing."

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