Solid Williamsport holds Punxsy softball in check

PUNXSUTAWNEY — A solid all-around softball team is always a challenge, but even more so when a team has limited outside and game time before the matchup.

Despite being on its way to being a good softball club, Punxsy could not match the quality Williamsport squad on Saturday and dropped a close game for the majority of the day, 10-1.

“That was a good quality team over there. They have offense with the pitching to go with it,” noted Lady Chucks coach Alan Pifer. “I told the girls from the start they had to share the hitting load."

The Lady Millionaires’ Alexis Bower showed her pitching prowess for a second year against the Lady Chucks. The senior hurler recorded 12 strikeouts of Punxsy to go with four hits.

“We went from Bradford’s pitcher (on Thursday) to this one (it) is a big change. We put the bat on the ball better.” pointed out Pifer.

Pitcher Ashley Bacha helped her own cause at the plate. The senior went 2 for 2 with two singles and a walk.

Sydney Phillips doubled to left center and scored the lone run while Lauren Ball singled for the other hit.

Despite only the one run, the Lady Chucks (1-1) held their own until the final frame.

Williamsport scored two unearned first-inning scores. Following an opening Punxsy error, the visitors drew before a pair of singles would plate the first two runs.

Punxsy’s Bacha walked, and courtesy runner Stephanie Smith stole second and advanced to third but could not score in the home first.

They stayed at 2-0 with neither squad having a runner reach past second base for the second, third or fourth frames.

In the top of the fifth, Williamsport added to its lead. The Lady Millionaires singled with one out.

They added a second single two batters later with two outs, which turned into a run-scoring hit due to a Punxsy outfield miscue. Williamsport pushed across a second run in the at bat for a 4-0 margin.

After a visiting homer in the top of the sixth, Punxsy would match the run.

With one out, Phillips lined a double to left center. She advanced to third on a ground out before racing to score on a passed ball, but the Lady Chucks still trailed 5-1.

Williamsport took advantage of five hits and four Punxsy errors in the top of the seventh to ice the game with five insurance runs to make it 10-1. The home team could not answer to lose by the same total.

“Ashley had some trouble hitting her spots later in the game. She had more early command but it may have been a sign of fatigue (early in the season),” explained the Punxsy coach. “Our defense also let us down today. We gave away too many runs defensively.”

The Lady Chucks will return to the softball diamond to get back on track with a 4:30 p.m. contest at Bald Eagle Area today.