Punxsy places second in machine-pitch tourney

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsy Pirates received the runner-up award in the 7-and 8-year old pitching machine tournament Saturday in Punxsutawney.

Five teams competed in the double-elimination format contest, and Punxsy placed second only to St. Marys.

Punxsy played five games throughout the day, losing to St. Marys during the first and last games of the tournament. After being defeated by St. Marys, the Pirates beat Kane, Johnsonburg and Cranberry to advance back to the tournament championship.

"Even though they played the games back-to-back-to-back, they were still able to get motivated for the last game," Punxsy manager Greg Skarbek said. "They were able to keep their heads up to keep the final game competitive."

Skarbek said how impressed he was with the Pirates' ability to play as a team, despite having been formed just one month prior to the tournament.

"Although they only had a month together as a team, they really came together and acted as a team," Skarbek said.

The tournament was a competitive one, even though the players are young, according to Skarbek.

He said that he and the other coaches still tried to stress development and skills even with the competitive nature of the tournament.

"What we're trying to teach the whole time is fundamental baseball," Skarbek said. "They were able to keep focused and continue their quality of play."

Skarbek said the coaching staff also attempted to signify the importance of teamwork, and he felt the Pirates worked very well together.

"Although there was a lot of individual play, they were able to come together as a team to get where they were at," he said.