Pitching, defense shine in JV softball victory

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsy junior varsity softball team scored at least one run in each inning, and Nicole DiPietro pitched a five-inning, two-hit shutout as the Lady Chucks cruised to a 10-0, five-inning victory over the Lady Dutch of St. Marys Tuesday afternoon in Punxsutawney.

Perhaps the most impressive fact about the Lady Chucks' 10-run offensive output was the fact that they scored them while picking up just six hits.

"I was happy with the girls' effort on offense," Punxsy manager Ken Covatch said. "We did not have a lot of base hits, but we played smart and ran the bases aggressively."

The Lady Chucks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, and that was more than enough insurance to cover DiPietro's strong pitching performance.

Covatch said he thought DiPietro pitched "a solid game," adding that the rest of the Lady Chucks "played nice defense behind her."

Her line showed five innings, allowing just two hits and striking out one. She controlled her pitches well and didn't walk any St. Marys' hitters.

Covatch went on to mention one Lady Chuck in particular who shined defensively in center fielder Anna Horner.

Horner made a run-saving, over-the-shoulder catch on what Covatch said was likely to be a home run, and in the top of the fifth, she thwarted a Lady Dutch miniature rally by recording a catch and throwing a runner out for an 8-3 double play to end the inning. Punxsy would go on to score two runs in the bottom of the frame to put the game away.

Horner and teammate Kara St. Clair also had the hottest bats for the Lady Chucks, with each recording a pair of hits. Horner's hits were each singles, and St. Clair had Punxsy's only extra-base hit with a triple.

Three other Lady Chucks — Stephanie Smith, Shaina Painter and Emily Horner — each scored two runs, as well.

While the Lady Chucks varsity squad will be off until next Tuesday when it hosts Bald Eagle, the JVs will be on their own Thursday when they travel to Elk County Catholic for a 4:15 p.m. contest.