PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsy scored 10 runs in the home half of the first and fourth innings and batted around in all four innings en route to a 33-3 win over Curwensville in 15- and 16-year old VFW All-Star action Thursday night in Punxsutawney.
"We hit the ball when we had runners in scoring position," manager Mike Klingensmith said. "That's what we hadn't been doing, and I told the guys, 'We have got to continue to hit the ball when we have opportunities to score.'"
Punxsy starting pitcher Michael Klingensmith retired Curwensville quickly in the top of the first inning with three strikeouts, and Punxsy wasted no time giving him some run support.
Klingensmith also started the rally with the bats in the bottom of the frame when he singled to right-center field.
Ty Zimmerman walked, and Cory Geer scored both Klingensmith and Zimmerman with a double.
Bobby Thompson followed with an RBI double of his own. Matt Burkett and Clayton Dale walked to load the bases, and Dakota Thomas drove a pitch over the right fielder's head for an inside-the-park grand slam, giving Punxsy a 7-0 lead.
Three of Punxsy's next four hitters reached base on errors before Curwensville starting pitcher Kyle Sarvis was pulled from the game. Sarvis allowed 10 runs on four hits and walked four.
Relief pitcher Rick Magnuson retired Jamie Bush to end Punxsy's big inning.
Punxsy batted around in each inning, but the 10 runs it scored in the first would be more than enough for pitchers Klingensmith and Geer.
Klingensmith pitched three complete innings, allowing three runs on three hits and earning the win.
All three runs came in the third inning for Curwensville.
Geer finished the game, pitching two no-hit innings and striking out six hitters.
"They both pitched really well for us," manager Klingensmith said. "Cory won't be around on Saturday, so he wanted to get a bullpen session in. Michael wanted to go a little bit longer for us, but this way, we can use him if we need him on Saturday, because his pitch count was low enough."
Punxsy's offensive leaders were Zimmerman, who went 3-for-5 with a walk, a triple and five runs scored, and Geer, who went 3-for-4 with two walks and three runs.
Dale also had three hits for Punxsy including a double, and Klingensmith had two hits, four runs and two RBIs.
Despite the big win in the opening game of the tournament, manager Klingensmith knows that there's still a lot of baseball to be played with the round robin format.
"There's going to be some hard games ahead," he said. "Curwensville is going to come back battling when we go down there next week."
Punxsy's next game in the round robin tournament is at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at home against Philipsburg.
"Last year, Philipsburg came out and beat Punxsy in its first game, so I'm sure they're going to come out here looking to knock us off," Klingensmith said.
Punxsy will play the same two teams next week, except both games will be on the road.
Punxsy will play at Curwensville next Wednesday.