Sizzling in the heat: LLSB All-Stars down Brookville

BROOKVILLE — After a 9-0 victory over Brockway last Sunday to open the 11- and 12-year-old Little League softball All-Star tournament, Punxsy's squad stayed hot Thursday with an 11-0, four-inning trouncing of Brookville in Brookville.

After the game, Punxsy manager Mike Ishman couldn't say enough about how pleased he was with his team's performance from start to finish.

"We had strong pitching again, with Alli (Ishman) starting and Morgan (Adamson) coming in at the end; our fielding was phenomenal; the outfield played great; and we had smart baserunning," he said. "It was just an overall great team effort."

After Alli Ishman and Kylee Lingenfelter combined for a no-hitter Sunday against Brockway, Ishman and Morgan Adamson came close to repeating the feat, as Brookville's lone base hit came off the bat of Laken Hergert in the first inning — an infield single.

Meanwhile, Brookville's pitcher — Carlie McManigle — managed to keep the game close over the first two innings, allowing just one run. But a number of Brookville fielding blunders, timely hitting and patience at the plate opened things up and gave Punxsy the distinct advantage.

Brookville won the coin toss and elected to be the home team, allowing Punxsy to take first cuts at scoring a run, and the visiting squad did just that.

McManigle did well to set the first two Punxsy hitters down with Kate Horner and Morgan VanLeer each popping up to the infield.

With two outs, though, Ishman helped her own cause before she ever even took the mound, belting a triple over the head of Brookville right fielder Kennedy Gilbert.

Danielle Bowser finished off the deal by delivering a two-out, RBI single in front of the center fielder to plate Ishman for what would much later prove to be the game-winning run.

After Bowser's hit, a special pinch runner was inserted, and a perfect throw by Brookville catcher Maggie Miller ended the inning on a caught stealing.

In the home half of the first, Brooke Hummel led off with a fly ball to right, which was tracked down and caught on a nice play by Kim Shoemaker for the first out of the inning.

Maly Zents struck out for the second out, but with two outs, Hergert gave the home squad a ray of hope on a sunny day. Her hustle down the line gave her an infield single, but Ishman refused to allow her to go any farther, fanning Miller for the third out of the inning.

McManigle made quick work of the hitters she faced in the second inning, setting them down in order with a pair of groundouts by Shoemaker and Jordyn Powell and a fly ball by Alli Lunger.

Despite no hits in the second inning, Brookville did manage one baserunner, when with one out, Dani MacBeth reached on a bobbled ball by Lunger at shortstop.

Hergert stole second base after a strikeout by Ishman retired McManigle to put Brookville's first runner in scoring position, but Hannah Kirkwood grounded back to Ishman, who threw on to first to maintain the shutout and Punxsy's 1-0 lead.

In the top of the third, Punxsy really started to give itself some breathing room, managing three walks and a pair of hits off McManigle while plating five runs and putting itself ahead 6-0.

In putting up the five spot, Punxsy brought 11 hitters to the dish, beginning with McKenzie Atcheson, who reached on a grounder to second base when the Brookville fielder couldn't quite find the handle.

Atcheson moved up to third base on a pair of wild pitches, and when No. 9 hitter Tessa Winebark walked, she never stopped running en route to stealing second.

On a designed play, McManigle threw the ball to the second baseman, who immediately threw home. But her throw was too late, and Atcheson slid safely into home for Punxsy's second run of the game.

Winebark stole third base on ball four to Horner, giving her a walk and putting runners on the corners.

But the runners didn't stay at the corners long, as Horner quickly stole second to put a pair in scoring position for VanLeer.

VanLeer displayed her clutch gene with a two-RBI single right back up the gut to score Winebark and Horner and give Punxsy a 4-0 lead, and on the throw home to try to retire Horner, she moved up to second base.

Ishman reached base on another Brookville fielding miscue, but McManigle forced another popup to the first baseman for the first out of the inning.

Shoemaker grounded out to the shortstop, but on the throw to first, VanLeer scored easily, and after entering the game for Powell, Adamson delivered with a two-out RBI single right between the shortstop and third baseman.

Lunger reached on a dropped popup by the pitcher, and Atcheson walked to load the bases.

But McManigle prevented any further damage by getting Winebark to pop out to the third baseman to end the inning with Punxsy up 6-0.

Brookville knew it needed to score, and score quickly, but the home team continued to struggle to figure out Ishman's pitching, and again, the only baserunner to reach did so on an error when Hummel hit a grounder to second that was misplayed.

She did steal second and third to come within 60 feet of scoring, but a strikeout of Zents and a nice 5-3 putout by Atcheson ended the threat.

Already ahead by six, Punxsy put up a second-straight fiver to put itself in position to win via the 10-run rule after four innings if it could hold the home team to less than two runs.

Punxsy's rally started again with a fielding error, this time with Horner reaching after an errant throw as she tried to reach on a bunt.

Horner ended up at second after the ball skipped to the fence, and Punxsy was back in business.

Horner stole third base, and on a VanLeer walk, she pulled the same trick Winebark had used earlier, never stopping en route to second base. On the throw, Horner scampered home to make it 7-0, and VanLeer was safely in scoring position.

Ishman drove in her first run of the game with a single to plate VanLeer, and Bowser advanced Ishman with her second single of the afternoon..

Kylee Lingenfelter entered the game as a pinch hitter and took a walk to load the bases, and Adamson picked up her second RBI of the game using her good eye to take a bases-loaded walk.

Lunger grounded out to the second baseman but made it a productive at-bat by driving home Bowser, and Winebark mimicked the play with an RBI grounder to second of her own after Kerstin Nestel had walked to load the bases again.

Brookville second baseman Zents made it 3-for-3 by retiring Horner on another 4-3 putout, but Brookville entered the home half of the fourth down 11 and in need of two runs to even keep the game going.

Adamson came on to pitch, and despite allowing a pair of baserunners via two walks, she didn't allow any hits or any runs.

She struck out Kirkwood looking for the final out, and Punxsy had earned the victory.

With the win, Punxsy will now move on to the winners' bracket semi-finals, where it will face DuBois — which defeated St. Marys 2-1 Thursday — Monday evening.

"The girls are looking great," coach Ishman said. "We made a great adjustment to some pitching that was slower than we were used to seeing, and now, we've got to get geared back up for the next game."