Five of Punxsy's 11 hits go for extra bases during 13-8 win
PUNXSUTAWNEY — Taylor Neal hit a grand slam, and Ty Zimmerman drove in four runs during the Punxsy baseball team's 13-8 victory over Clearfield Thursday at Rich Kuntz Memorial Field in Punxsutawney.
The Chucks (6-4) scored five times in the first inning and never trailed during an 11-hit game that featured a home run and four doubles.
With the win, Punxsy improved to 3-1 against District IX Class AAA opponents. The Chucks beat Clearfield (5-7) and Bradford at home and split with St. Marys.
Thursday's game was originally scheduled to be played in Clearfield, but due to a wet field, it was moved to Punxsutawney.
Punxsy scored during every inning but the fifth, and behind its offense, Punxsy constantly pressured three Bisons pitchers. The Chucks scored nine of their 13 runs with two outs.
"(We had) timely two-out hitting," Punxsy manager Mike Dickey said. "The sticks were good. Up and down the order, we had good at-bats. We drove the ball well."
Punxsy's top four hitters were a combined 8-for-14 with seven RBIs, six runs scored and three doubles. The rest of the order went 5-for-14 with six RBIs and seven runs scored, led by Neal's two-out grand slam during the first inning.
"It's the same story — No. 1 through 4 is really florishing," Dickey said. "When we pick up a couple more guys at the bottom, we will have something going."
Zimmerman, a sophomore and Punxsy's No. 2 hitter, continued a superb week with a 3-for-4 game that featured four RBIs, two doubles and a run scored. He is now 7-for-8 this week at the plate with five RBIs, four runs and four doubles.
Zak Dickey, Punxsy's leadoff hitter, doubled and scored four times, Jordan Mesoraco singled and doubled in two, and Tyler Skerkavich had two singles, a run scored and an RBI.
Neal's only hit was a grand slam, both Joe Pisano and Brodi Lowmaster singled in a run and scored, and Devan Neal scored twice off a pair of walks from the No. 9 hole.
Also aiding Punxsy's offensive effort were 10 walks issued by Clearfield's pitchers.
Punxsy starting pitcher Dane Baker earned the win, throwing four innings. He gave up six runs (two earned) on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Clearfield's Derek Danver connected on an 0-2 fastball for a second-inning grand slam that trimmed Punxsy lead to 5-4. None of those runs would have scored if not for an error four batters earlier that extended the inning.
The Chucks responded by scoring six runs during the next three innings and took an 11-6 lead into the sixth inning.
Jamie Bush pitched the final three innings, allowing two runs (zero earned) on one hit with two walks and three strikeouts.
Three Punxsy errors during the seventh inning allowed Clearfield to cut the deficit to 13-8, but a strikeout by Bush with two runners in scoring positon ended the Bisons' comeback chances.
"We have to put teams away when we have the opportunity," manager Dickey said. "In the seventh, we did make it a little interesting. We need to find a way to alleviate that."
Punxsy will take its two-game winning streak into Williamsport for a 4 p.m. start today.
Pisano, a senior right-hander, will get the start on the mound.
"He had a good bullpen the other night," Dickey said about Pisano. "We think we found a little something in his delivery that we can correct, and hopefully, we see the results of that tomorrow."