DUBOIS â€” Punxsy's Post 62 Senior Legion baseball team's season came to a disappointing end with a 6-4 loss against DuBois in the winner-take-all championship game Tuesday night at Showers Field in DuBois.
Punxsy manager Doug Mesoraco was proud of his players and the way they battled, though, not only Tuesday, but throughout the six years that he has been working with them.
"These boys won't get to play any more baseball together," Mesoraco said. "We talked about that prior to the game. They've been together six years, and I told them, 'Let's try to go out on a high note with one more championship.' They've really played a lot of great baseball for us, though."
As far as Tuesday's game went, Punxsy found itself having to battle back more than once, and Mesoraco was also proud of the way they never gave up.
"We were really happy with how the kids battled tonight. We got behind 2-0 and 4-2, and each time, we came back and tied it," he said.
Dubois starting pitcher Garrett Peterson sat Punxsy down in order in the first inning, and DuBois jumped out to the early lead in the bottom half of the first.
Nate Liddle led off the inning with a single against Punxsy starting pitcher Braedon Pennington, and Dante DeSantis reached base on a fielder's choice where Liddle beat the throw to second.
Peterson drove in DuBois' first run on a sacrifice fly to deep center field, and Sean Sleigh hit an RBI double to score DeSantis and give DuBois the 2-0 lead.
Punxsy answered back with one run in the second inning when Ty Zimmerman walked and scored on an RBI double by Kyle Neal. Neal was left stranded, though, as Peterson forced Brody Lomaster to fly out to the left fielder.
Lowmaster came in to relieve Pennington at the beginning of the second inning.
"Braeden just didn't have it today," Mesoraco said. "We could see that early, and Brody did a tremendous job coming in on such short notice like that. Brody was working on seven days rest, and so we felt comfortable going with him."
Lowmaster retired the side in order in the bottom of the second, and Punxsy evened the score at two in the top of the third when Pennington drove a one-out pitch out of the ballpark to deep right-center field.
DuBois regained the lead in the bottom of the third, though, when DeSantis hit a one-out solo home run of his own. With two outs, Sean Sleigh doubled to the fence in right-center field, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when catcher Jordan Mesoraco's throw skipped past third baseman Joe Pisano and into left field.
Pennington put Punxsy back on the board again in the fifth when he led off with a walk and moved to second on a deep single by Tyler Skerkavich, who was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double.
Mesoraco drove Pennington in on an RBI double to the gap in right center field. Mesoraco scored on an RBI single by Spencer Levy, but DuBois pitcher Sean Sleigh ended the rally by striking out Pisano and forcing Zimmerman to fly out to left.
DuBois took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth when Liddle led off with a triple just past the outstretched glove of right fielder Dane Baker, and scored on an RBI groundout to the shortstop by DeSantis.
DuBois added another run in the sixth when Matt Zimmerman singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on what seemed to be a routine ground ball to third until it took a wild hop over Pisano's glove.
"The key run that hurt us was that bad hop hit over the third baseman's glove," Mesoraco said. "In that situation, a regular ground ball, and we would throw the guy out and keep the score 5-4. When our first guy comes up, we can bunt him over, but down two runs we couldn't afford to bunt."
Punxsy's leadoff hitter, Jordan Mesoraco, did reach base in the seventh inning, but Punxsy was unable to get a rally going against DuBois' closer, DeSantis.
Punxsy just wasn't able to get the key hits when they needed them.
"One of the things that caused us to come out on the short end was situational hitting," manager Mesoraco said. "We had guys on second and third in the fourth with one out, and Georgino struck out our No. 7 hitter. Then, he walked our eighth hitter, and battled against my pinch hitter."
Mesoraco was proud of his players, and said he had enjoyed coaching them from the time the started playing Junior Legion for him.
"We talked to the boys after the game, and told them that it has always been a pleasure working with these guys. It's always good to plant a seed at 13 years old, when they're young and impressionable, and see what it blooms to. I think it really turned out well," he said.View more articles in: