PUNXSUTAWNEY — Leading 11-9 after four-and-a-half innings, the Punxsy Minor League softball squad knew it had to minimize the offensive output of DuBois to earn a second-consecutive win in the All-Star tournament, but a three-run fifth inning by DuBois gave it just enough to squeak by the host Friday night with a 12-11 win in Punxsutawney.
Despite the outcome, Punxsy head coach Rob Gemmell was very pleased with his girls' performance on the field.
"We can't hang our heads about losing by one run in the sixth inning," he said. "What can you say? It was a good game, and we'll come back from this. We hope that we'll see them again before we leave the division. It's what we're hoping for, and now, we'll go to work to try to make it happen."
While the game ended up a high-scoring affair, there was only one run scored between the two teams in the first inning — a two-out tally by DuBois in the bottom of the first.
Punxsy managed three baserunners in the first inning, but two of those runners ended up running themselves out of their position.
Madison Stonbraker was the first to reach when DuBois starting pitcher Tori Gregory dropped a soft popper back to her.
Stonbraker moved to second on a passed ball and stole third, putting a runner on third with just one out.
No. 3 hitter Jessica Lisa took a walk, and never stopped running to draw a throw to second.
The catcher threw down to second, but things didn't work as Punxsy planned, as Lisa was caught stealing, and Stonbraker was still stuck on third base.
With two outs, Laney Monroe took a second-straight walk, and when she tried the same trick, she too was gunned down before Stonbraker could score, ending the inning with a goose egg beside Punxsy's name.
DuBois' run in the home half came on a wild pitch, when Cayla Donahue scored on a wild pitch with two outs to give her team a 1-0 lead.
Punxsy had a big inning in the top of the second, bringing 10 to the plate and scoring six runs on just one hit — mostly with the help of six walks by Gregory.
Taegan Ludwig started it off with a walk, and after Hailey Maines went down looking for the first out, Gregory walked the next four hitters she faced — Abby Gemmell, Abbi Riskus, Mya Phillips and Makenna Nesbitt.
Phillips' walk plated Ludwig, and Nesbitt's allowed Gemmell to score to give Punxsy its first lead.
Stonbraker put the bat on the ball, attempting to bunt for a hit, and Gregory made a nice play to retire lead runner Riskus at the plate.
After that, Lisa took another walk to load the bases for cleanup hitter Monroe, who delivered in a big way with Punxsy's only hit of the inning — a bases-clearing, three-RBI double to right-center field.
Fairbanks — batting for her second time in the inning — went down on strikes to end the threat, but Punxsy had a 6-1 lead.
DuBois answered right back, though, putting up five of its own on four hits in the home half to tie the game at six runs apiece after two.
Hannah Ray led off the inning with a single, and after stealing second, she scored when Lexi Smith reached on an E5.
Smith went to second on the errant throw, and after advancing to third on a passed ball, she scored when Shay Gulvas reached on a second-consecutive fielding blunder by Punxsy.
Abby Lecker popped out for the first out of the inning, but DuBois got it going again with a single off the bat of Sarah Peters putting a pair on.
Gulvas scored on an RBI groundout by Donahue, and Agosti singled home Peters to pull DuBois within one before Kaylee Sadowski drove a double down the left field line to score Agosti and tie it at six.
Punxsy took the lead back in the third with two runs on three walks and another timely hit — this time an RBI single by Stonbraker.
Gregory retired the first two hitters she faced, but struggled to find the zone with Riskus, Kendall Johnston and Nesbitt at the plate — walking all three to load the bases.
Riskus scored on a passed ball, and Stonbraker's single plated Johnston to push Punxsy's lead to 8-6.
DuBois narrowed the gap to one run in the home half of the third with Ray reaching base on a walk and later scoring on an RBI groundout by Smith.
Riskus got the next two hitters she faced before allowing a double to Lecker and a walk to Peters to put a pair on.
It was Riskus who got herself out of the jam, though, forcing Donahue into a groundout in front of the plate, which she threw on to first for a putout to get out of the inning with the lead.
Punxsy scored two more in the top of the fourth to extend its lead to three runs at 10-7.
Monroe started things with a walk, and she stole second and moved to third on a passed ball with none out.
Alyssa Fairbanks entered as a pinch hitter, but she couldn't put the bat on the ball, and Gregory struck her out for the first out of the frame.
Maines came through with a big one-out RBI double, and she moved to third base and later scored on a pair of passed balls.
Riskus and Johnston each walked and advanced on a passed ball to put a pair in scoring position, but Gregory whiffed Nesbitt to end the threat and keep the lead manageable.
DuBois scored a pair in the bottom of the fourth to narrow the lead to two with a leadoff inside the park home run by Agosti, and an RBI groundout by pinch hitter Brynlie Galiczynski scoring fellow pinch hitter Mia Geer.
At that point, DuBois called on reliever Sadowski — a fireballer whose speed was tough to keep up with.
Punxsy managed just one run off of her in two innings work — a passed ball allowing Jessica Lisa to score — and Punxsy was caught stealing twice in the fifth to extinguish its spark.
DuBois rode the momentum off the second caught stealing, which retired the side, and scored three runs in the home half of the fifth to take its first lead since the first inning, 12-11.
Peters got things started with a one-out walk, and she scored on a double by Donahue.
Shayla Agosti walked, and Donahue and Agosti each came around to score, with Agosti crossing the plate on an errant throw that skipped away from first base.
Punxsy had one last crack at DuBois in the sixth, but Sadowski found her rhythm, allowing just one baserunner — a one-out walk to Riskus — and fanning the other three hitters she faced to strike out the side, earn the save and preserve the win.
With the loss, Punxsy falls to the losers' bracket, where it will play Bradford Sunday in a second-consecutive home game for Punxsy.