Two big GKN innings push visitors past Femco
PUNXSUTAWNEY — Femco Machine's Senior League baseball team held a 4-2 lead entering the sixth inning against Fox Township's GKN, but a pair of big innings in the sixth and the seventh pushed the visiting squad past Femco 13-6 Wednesday evening in Punxsutawney.
Things started out on a high note for Femco after giving up one run in the top of the first, as it answered with a pair in the home half to take the lead.
GKN's run came off a leadoff single by Andy Geci, a walk, a fielder's choice and a fielding blunder by Femco.
But in the bottom of the inning, Femco scored a pair before it even recorded a hit.
With one out, Jacob Weaver was hit by a pitch and manufactured a run by stealing second, and after another strikeout by GKN starter Hunter Fantechi, another stolen base and a wild pitch plated Weaver.
On the wild pitch — ball four to Ty Wasicki — Wasicki drew a walk of his own, and on the first pitch, he broke for second.
He slid safely into second, and as the ball bounded past the GKN player covering, Wasicki dashed to third.
Another errant throw off the third baseman's glove caused the ball to skip away again, and Wasicki — also Femco's starting pitcher — scampered home to give his squad a 2-1 lead.
Jared Burkett walked, Drew Maines singled, and Austin Getch loaded the bases with another walk, but a groundout to the pitcher ended the inning, and Femco had stranded three.
Wasicki returned to the mound for the second and pulled off a rare feat — striking out four batters in one inning. The first K came against Nate Dezinet, but the ball skipped past Weaver, the catcher, and Dezinet made it to first before the ball to earn the base.
Wasicki struck out Dakota Overturf, but back-to-back walks to Ryan Sennett and Geci put him in a bases-loaded jam — one he worked himself out of with back-to-back Ks.
Femco added one to its lead in the home half of the second, with Richie Brown leading off the inning with a single.
Mike Steiner entered the game for Brown as a special pinch-runner and used his wheels to net his team one run. He stole second, and after a Lucas Burkett walk, he stole third as a part of a double steal, as well.
Then, Dylan Standford plated Brown with a one-out single before Fantechi worked out of another second and third jam.
GKN answered Femco's one-run second with a run of its own in the third.
Damon Krise started it with a one-out walk, and after stealing second, he benefitted from a pair of Femco errors to come all the way around and score.
In the third and fourth innings, Femco's only action came from a two-out single by Weaver, who stole second before the inning ended.
Wasicki shut GKN out in the fourth inning, as well, and in the fifth, relief pitcher Lucas Burkett set the side down in order.
Femco made it a two-run ball game in the bottom of the fifth, with Wasicki leading off the frame with a double over the right fielder's head.
He stole third, continuing the aggressive base running trend his team had displayed all night, and on an error by the third baseman, Wasicki came in to score his second run of the game.
With two outs, subs Ian McConnell and Steiner made some noise with a walk and a single, respectively.
The duo moved to third and second on a wild pitch, but Fantachi managed to strike out the No. 9 hitter to end the threat.
In the sixth, though, things started to fall apart for Femco, as GKN batted around for the first of two consecutive innings and scored five runs on just three hits.
Overturf reached base on an error, and a single by Sennett moved him to third.
Burkett made a nice play to keep a run off the board when Geci chopped one back to him and he threw home to retire Overturf.
But things went downhill from there, as Fantechi helped his own cause and took himself out of position for the loss by tying it up with a two-RBI single down the third baseline.
Fantechi scored after stealing second and advancing one base each on a pair of passed balls, and GKN took a 5-4 lead.
After cleanup hitter Kyle Leonard reached on an error, and Damon Krise reached via a walk, Kyle Huff finished off the sixth-inning scoring with a two-RBI single to right just out of the second baseman's reach.
Burkett struck out Dezinet to end the threat there, but the damage was done, and GKN led 7-4 after five-and-a- half.
Krise came on in relief in the sixth, retiring Femco in order, and his team wasted no time putting a few more runs on the board in the seventh — bringing 11 hitters to the plate and scoring six on just two hits.
The inning was highlighted by a two-RBI single by Krise, RBI walks for Kyler Lenox, Huff and Dezinet and an RBI single by Leonard.
Femco added two more in the bottom of the frame, but it was too little, too late.
Wasicki walked, stole second and moved to third to lead off the inning.
And after Jared Burkett reached on an error by the second baseman, McConnell drove Wasicki in for his third run of the game with an RBI groundout.
Burkett advanced to third on the play and later scored Femco's final run on a wild pitch before the game came to a close with a Krise strikeout punctuating it.
Femco will be right back in action Friday, when it travels to DuBois to take on Coldwell at 6 p.m.
The schedule rounds out next week with games Monday and Wednesday against Local 110 and Veolia, respectively.