ST. MARYS — The game seemed to be slipping away from Punxsy in the bottom of the third inning Friday night when St. Marys scored four runs on three hits and three errors. But Punxsy fought back to send the game to extra innings and won 6-4 in nine in Minor League baseball All-Star action in St. Marys.
"That was a fun one," Punxsy manager Eric Britton said. "It was pretty nerve-wracking. I've coached and managed a lot of games, and that was probably one of the best I've ever been involved with."
Punxsy threatened to score in the eighth inning when Cameron Smith led off the inning with a triple, but he was stranded at third base.
Punxsy's ninth inning started with a double by Austin Ewing, who moved to third on a groundout by Dylan Ishman.
Logan Johnston followed with an RBI double, giving Punxsy a 5-4 lead. Ewing's run would prove to be the winning run.
"Logan Johnston hit the ball hard twice tonight," Britton said. "He's been hitting the ball really well."
Punxsy added an insurance run when Jake Skarbek, who was a courtesy runner for Johnston, slid under the tag on a play at the plate on an RBI double by Andrew Britton.
Punxsy retired St. Marys in order in the ninth inning to wrap up the victory.
Manager Britton also pointed out another star of the game who may have gone under the radar.
"Willie Hoover had two putouts at third base, throwing runners out who were trying to advance in crucial points in the game," he said. "That was great to see."
Punxsy's offense was coupled by a great combined pitching effort from starting pitcher Johnston and relief pitchers Derek Huey and Ishman.
Johnston allowed all four of St. Marys' runs in the third inning, but Punxsy's three errors in the frame made his pitching look worse than it was.
"Logan pitched very well once again," Britton said. "He had them off-stride and threw strikes when we needed it. Unfortunately, he ran his pitch count up in the third. So, we decided to bring in Derek, and he pitched well too."
After Punxsy battled back to tie the score at four in the fifth inning on a two-run single by Britton, Punxsy's pitchers shut out St. Marys with some help from their defense, including a nice play by shortstop Ethan Blose in the ninth to keep St. Marys from picking up a hit.
Huey pitched four shutout innings and allowed only two hits to pick up the win, and Ishman picked up the save, retiring all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth on five pitches.
With the win, Punxsy advanced to the losers' bracket final and will host Brookville at 4 p.m. Sunday.