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Baker, Sloniger combine to blank Hubbers, 6-0

May 13, 2012

Punxsy senior pitcher Dane Baker delivers a pitch during the top of the fourth inning against Smethport Saturday in Punxsutawney. Baker pitched six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five en route to earning the win. Punxsy won 6-0. (Photo by Zak Lantz/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsy starting pitcher Dane Baker pitched six innings of two-hit baseball, and Ryan Sloniger closed the deal with one perfect inning, as the Chucks cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Smethport Hubbers Saturday in Punxsutawney.

A Dylan Mott double and a Ryan Stratton single were the only blemishes on an otherwise perfect, walk-free effort by the Chucks' pitchers.

"Dane was pretty good," Punxsy head coach Mike Dickey said. "He had a little bit of trouble getting on top of his curve ball, but he stayed on top of hitters in the count and didn't walk people. He didn't let them get going and threw a lot of lazy fly balls. It was just a good, solid effort."

Baker's line showed six innings, two hits and five strikeouts, and in Sloniger's one inning, he struck out two of the three hitters he faced.

After being blanked in the first inning, the Chucks' offense came alive in the second and ended up with six runs on seven hits, five walks and a hit batsman.

Taylor Phillips sparked the offense in the home half of the second with a two-out bloop single to right field for the team's first two runs, which would prove to be enough.

"Taylor's two-out, two-run single kind of got us going," Dickey said. "It was a workman-like effort. We didn't swing the bats very well, and we didn't run the bases very well, either. But the pitching was steady, and we did just enough to win. We were happy to get out of here with a win."

In addition to the two-run second inning, Punxsy put up three more in the third to add some insurance, and the Chucks finished off the scoring in the fourth before the squads played three scoreless innings to close out the game.

Hayden Muth had a pinch-hit double off the fence in the sixth to highlight the offensive attack, and Jamie Bush and Cory Geer each added RBI sacrifice flies.

Geer also had a hit, along with Michael Klingensmith, Ryan Sloniger, Ty Zimmerman and Garrett Zimmerman to round out the Chucks' seven-hit total.

The Chucks were also aggressive on the base paths with three stolen bases — one each by Geer, Sloniger and Luke Janocha.

Dickey said that while his team was happy to earn a victory, it now has to turn its focus to today's game against Hollidaysburg — a 4:15 p.m. home start.

The Chucks will then conclude their regular season with a double header Wednesday against Route 36 rival Brookville.

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