DuBois piles on late, defeats Punxsy, 7-1

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Leading 2-1, DuBois added five insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning after a controversial call seemed to change the momentum, and it went on to win 7-1 in Junior League softball All-Star action Thursday in Punxsutawney.

DuBois' No. 8 hitter, Shelbie Jamison, led off the seventh with a double to the left field fence.

The next hitter, Emily Krise, hit a ground ball in the hole between the shortstop and the third baseman.

Punxsy shortstop Shaina Painter made a nice stop and threw over to first, but the throw was not in time to retire Krise. Jamison sprinted toward third, but first baseman Kara St. Clair made a perfect throw to seemingly retire Jamison for the first out, in what would have been a momentum-changing play.

Jamison returned to the dugout, but after a discussion between the umpiring crew and the DuBois coaches, she was given back her spot at third base on a fielder's interference call.

"They called obstruction," Punxsy manager Randy Reitz said. "I don't know why there was a delay before the call. You'd have to ask the umpires that."

After the obstruction call was made, Punxsy brought in Nicole DiPietro to relieve starting pitcher Ivy Phillips, and DuBois managed seven straight base runners on six hits and a walk, scoring five runs to stretch its lead to 7-2.

Both starting pitchers had fine performances, with Phillips pitching six-plus innings, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out four, and Rachel Henry pitching a complete game, allowing only three hits and earning the win.

"Rachel kept us off-balance," Reitz said. "We didn't hit the ball solid like this team can. She had a few strikeouts where she hit the outside corner, and we're going to have to do a better job making decisions on what pitches to take and not to take."

Reitz had positive things to say about Phillips' performance, as well.

"She pitched a very good game. Against a team that hits the ball like that, pitching six innings and only giving up two runs shows that she just pitched very well," he said.

Punxsy's offense jumped out to the early lead with a run in the bottom of the second when DiPietro singled, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout by Taylor Newcome and scored on a passed ball.

The early run would prove to be Punxsy's only one, though, as Henry held it hitless through the next four innings, allowing only one more hit on a single by Kara St. Clair in the bottom of the seventh. Henry's control was superb, as well, allowing only two walks in the seven innings.

Punxsy looks to bounce back in a losers' bracket game at 4 p.m. Saturday in St. Marys.

"We need to work on some mental things, and then more batting practice," Reitz said. "We want to feel comfortable at the plate, especially going after the outside pitch. That's what Rachel threw tonight, and we need to work on it."

DuBois will face Ridgway in the winners' bracket game Saturday, and Reitz already has his eyes set on a rematch with DuBois in the bracket finals.

"I told the girls that hopefully we'll get to see them in a couple days here after Saturday," he said. "We'll see if we can do better the second game against them, if we can get there."