PUNXSUTAWNEY — Despite trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Chucks JV baseball squad never quit battling and came back to earn a 7-5 victory over Williamsport behind a sixth-inning grand slam by Hunter Hickok Saturday afternoon in Punxsutawney.
"Wow, what a game," Punxsy coach Rodney Thompson said after the game. "Coach (Jeremy) Hospodar and I are very proud of these guys and their effort to stay positive and find a way to win. It was a great team effort, and everyone contributed in some way.
"Hunter had the quote of the day after giving up a home run in the third inning. (First baseman) Tyler Young told Hunter that nothing was hurt after that solo shot, and Hunter responded by saying, 'It doesn't hurt my feelings.' That's a great response and a great approach."
Trailing by two with just two trips to the plate remaining, it was Young who started the come-from-behind rally with a double off the fence in right-center field.
Dakotah Byers followed with a flyout, but with one out, the next two Punxsy batters — Clayton Dale and Matt Burkett — walked to load the bases for Hickok.
With a full count, Hickok delivered the grand slam to give the Chucks a two-run lead entering the final frame.
Hickok returned to the mound to retire the No. 2, 3 and 4 hitters, striking out two of them, to seal the victory for the Chucks.
Hickok pitched a complete game, going seven innings and allowing five runs, seven hits and four walks and striking out three.
"It was nice to see Hunter get back into a groove on the mound," Thompson said. "He did a very nice job today."
Thompson also had good things to say about his team's defensive performance.
"Defensively, we were solid today, as Clayton Dale threw out two Millionaire runners trying to steal second base," he said. "Dakotah Byers also con- tinues to play solid defense at shortstop."
In other recent JV action:
Punxsy 12, DuBois 2
Matt Burkett pitched six complete innings and "looked sharp" according to Thompson, recording five strikeouts and allowing just two runs with one walk to lead the Chucks to a 12-2, six-inning victory over the Beavers last Wednesday.
"It was another strong performance from Matt, and we are working on getting him better each time he takes the mound," Thompson said.
The Chucks recorded 15 hits en route to the 10-run victory.
Christian Falgout led all batters with three hits — one of which was a towering home run that left the ballpark in a hurry.
Hickok added another homer and completed a two-hit day with a single.
Burkett helped his own cause with a double and a single, while Dale and Brandon Blose chipped in with doubles, as well.
Ruben Taylor, Zach Bevak, Dylan Orcutt, Ethan Ambler and Byers all singled to round out the offensive attack.
The Chucks will be back in action Wednesday when they travel with the varsity team to Bradford for a 4:15 p.m. contest.