ST. MARYS — With St. Marys one out from a victory, Punxsy's Alyssa Reitz belted a two-out RBI double to drive in Ivy Phillips and tie the score at three in a game that Punxsy would go on to win 7-3 in eight innings in Junior League softball All-Star action Monday night in St. Marys.
Punxsy advanced to a rematch with DuBois in the bracket final for the District 10 championship with the win. Punxsy will need to win two games, as it is coming out of the losers' bracket.
The first game will be played tonight at 6 p.m. in DuBois, and if Punxsy wins that game, it will force a third game which would be played between the two teams Friday.
Patience at the plate was one of the main components to Punxsy's victory, and Phillips' walk in the top of the seventh was just one example of the benefit of taking walks when they are available.
"The girls were very patient at the plate," Punxsy manager Randy Reitz said. "We drew six walks, and that was a huge difference maker. We did a good job of making contact, and we only struck out three times."
Punxsy jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first on a rally started by Reitz. Reitz reached base on a single and advanced to second on a fielder's choice. She scored on an RBI single by Jensen Constantino.
St. Marys answered with two unearned runs in the bottom of the second off starting pitcher Nicole DiPietro to take the lead, 2-1.
In the fourth inning, Punxsy took advantage of a hit batsman when Constantino was hit by a pitch and moved the whole way to third on a bunt single by Taylor Newcome.
Kara St. Clair drove Constantino in with an RBI single, tying the score at two.
St. Marys regained the lead in the home half of the sixth on another unearned run.
Reitz said his girls never stopped battling, especially his pitcher.
"Nicole threw the complete game and did a very good job," he said. "She hit her spots and the girls really played solid defense behind her." Punxsy broke out for four runs in the top of the eighth inning to break the game open for good.
DiPietro and Anna Horner walked to start the inning, and Lexi Cielo singled to drive in DiPietro.
Phillips walked to load the bases and Shaina Painter knocked in Horner to put Punxsy ahead by two runs.
Reitz came through again with a two-RBI double to push the lead to four, and Punxsy held St. Marys scoreless in the bottom half of the inning to earn the win.
Punxsy is excited about the opportunity to play Dubois again.
"We get a rematch, and we've got to get up there and do a better job of hitting the ball," Reitz said. "We need to keep it out of the air and be able to hit the outside pitch that the Henry girl throws."
Rachel Henry is DuBois' ace pitcher, and Reitz expects her to pitch again on Wednesday.