Punxsy MLSB rebounds with big win over Bradford

PUNXSUTAWNEY โ€” The Punxsy nine- and 10-year-old Minor League softball All-Stars bounced back from a disappointing 12-11 loss to DuBois that bounced them into the losers bracket with a convincing 35-11 victory over Bradford Sunday afternoon in Punxsutawney.

"Well, I said we would bounce back, and we certainly did in a big way," Punxsy manager Rob Gemmell said after the game. "I'm just really proud of the girls and the way they played, and I'm glad that Bradford came down to play us today. Now, well, I guess we're moving on. So, we'll see what happens."

Things started off looking OK for Bradford, when it put up a pair of runs off Punxsy starter Mya Phillips in the first inning.

Phillips struck out the first two hitters she faced, but four consecutive walks and a number of wild pitches and passed balls allowed the visiting squad to put up the two runs before Haleigh Reed was caught stealing at home for the third out of the inning.

Punxsy answered in a big way, though, with a 19-run home half of the first inning, during which it brought 25 hitters to the plate โ€” nearly batting around three times.

The game started with four consecutive walks to Makena Nesbitt, Madison Stonbraker, Jessica Lisa and Laney Monroe. Monroe's walk cracked the scoreboard for Punxsy by plating Nesbitt and opening the floodgates.

Taegan Ludwig poured it on for Punxsy by clearing the bases with a three-RBI triple, and from that point on, it was all Punxsy for the next 19 hitters.

Six different Punxsy players reached safely three times in the inning, and 19 of the first 21 scored.

Bradford starter Autum Smith was removed from the game with two outs and replaced with Emily Warner, who walked the first three she faced before retiring the side with a strikeout.

Bradford narrowed the gap a bit with two more runs in the top of the second, and a goose egg for Punxsy in the bottom half gave the visitors a bit of confidence.

At that point, Phillips was removed from the game for Gabby Franklin, and the Bradford offense put up six runs on two hits and four walks in the third to pull within nine at 19-10 before Abbi Riskus came on to close out the inning for Franklin.

Punxsy again answered with another big inning, though, scoring 16 runs this time with some aggressive baserunning and some timely hits โ€” and the help of nine additional free passes.

Punxsy did manage to put the bat on the ball a few more times the second time around, with a Haley Maines two-RBI double leading the way.

Maines also had a single, Lisa had a pair of singles, and Stonbraker added a hit of her own to the team's tally.

The 16-run barrage was too much for Bradford, which managed just one run in the fourth after MaKenzee Maley reached on an error and stole her way around the bases.

With the 10-run rule in effect, the game ended after three-and-a-half innings, and Punxsy advanced to the next round, where it will travel to Warren for another losers' bracket contest.