PUNXSUTAWNEY- The 10- & 11-year-old softball All-Stars are Section 1 champions thanks to a clutch sixth-inning performance. The Punxsy youngsters defeated Corry 9-7 Friday night to claim the title.
Punxsy took its turn batting first. Elyse White opened the contest with a line drive caught by Corry third baseman Megan Dennis. Jazzmine Hadden was the second batter, and she reached first on a walk. Chelsea Snyder stepped up to the plate next, and she was pegged by a pitch, putting two runners on base. Grace Aikens scored the first run of the night when she earned a double and brought Hadden home. Snyder scored the second run when Corry pitcher Hope Hasbrowek tossed a wild pitch, and Snyder raced home.
Hasbrowek pitched a complete game, throwing two strike outs, walking six and giving up nine runs on five hits.
Toya Jones scored run No. 3 for Punxsy on her first of two sac-RBIs on the night. She grounded a shot to second that brought Aikens across home plate. Mia Lingenfelter provided the third out when she grounded a shot to third that was gloved and tossed to first before she could make it there. Punxsy was up 3-0 after their first at-bat.
Punxsy starting pitcher White silenced Corry in the first inning. With help from her supporting cast, White sent Corry back to the dugout after only four batters. Brook Joncas recorded a hit that inning but never made it home.
Punxsy struggled at the plate in inning No. 2. Hasbrowek tallied her only two strikeouts of the game in the second inning from Olivia Weaver and Kaitlin Doverspike. Lakyn Smith was walked but was left stranded when White was forced out 5-3.
Corry cut Punxsy's lead during its second at-bat. Alician Ahl was able to reach second after she grounded a ball that ended up being mishandled by first baseman Aikens. Lexi Cubero was then walked to put two runners on base. White then sat down her first batter for the first out. Cassidy Sulhar provided the second out when she put too much air under the ball, and it was caught by second base- man Mia Lingenfelter. Davia Fisher approached the plate with two outs and runners on second and third. White eventually walked Fisher, which loaded the bases. Opposing pitcher Hasbrowek batted next.
White and Hasbrowek battled until there was full count, two outs and bases loaded. White then tossed a pitch too high, and Corry scored its first run from Hasbrowek's walk. White did not get frustrated and forced the next batter, Joncas, to pop out to third for the final out. Punxsy was still on top 3-1.
Punxsy extended its lead in the third. Hadden was walked to start things off for the home squad. She proceeded to steal second while Snyder was at bat. Snyder brought her teammate home with a smack to left field. Aikens advanced Snyder a base but was thrown out 1-3 for the first out. Jones then followed up with her second sac-RBI of the night when she brought Snyder across the plate. Lingenfelter was credited with the third out when she grounded to first. Punxsy had pushed its lead to 5-1.
Corry quickly retaliated when it went to the plate in the third. After Dennis recorded the first out, Emily Sonntag was walked.
Ahl then provided the second out when White gloved her grounder and tossed it to first. Cubero chipped a shot towards third during her at-bat and was able to reach that base and score Sonntag due to some errant Punxsy field work. Pinch-hitter Leslie Saltsman tallied her team's third run when she made it to first on a mishandled catch by Aikens that scored Cubero. Pinch-hitter Katrina Lehner grabbed out No. 3 when her grounder didn't buy her enough time to reach first. Punxsy remained on top, 5-3.
The Punxsy girls recorded another run in the fourth. Weaver was walked to start the inning. She was able to reach third on a pair of wild pitches. Pinch-hitter Kylee Shoemaker provided the first out when she hit a pop-up that was snagged by first baseman Sonntag.
Fellow pinch-hitter Cassidy Reed brought Weaver across home plate with her sacrifice bunt. White and Hadden had back-to-back hits but were left stranded when Snyder put up the third out. Punxsy had a 6-3 lead that wouldn't last for long.
Corry had its strongest scoring output in the fourth. White walked the first three batters — Fisher, Hasbrowek and Joncas — to load the bases with no outs. Corry saw its first out of the inning when Dennis hit a pop-up to first base. White then walked Sonntag, which scored Corry's fourth run. After that, White was replaced by closer Snyder.
White had pitched 3-1/3 innings, throwing a strikeout, walking seven and allowing four runs on two hits.
Snyder pitched the final 2-2/3 innings, throwing five strikeouts, walking one and allowing three runs on one hit.
When Snyder stepped in, she set down her first batter, Ahl. She then gave up a run off the only hit she allowed from Cubero. Young then scored two more runs when she grounded a shot that was mishandled by Weaver at third. Snyder then struck out Sulhar to end the inning. Corry had taken the 7-6 lead.
Corry kept the 7-6 lead after the fifth inning, as both squads went down three-and-out.
Punxsy manager Steve White huddled his team together before it took its final at-bat. White's speech must have sparked his sluggers, as they scored three runs in that inning.
"I can't say enough about the sixth inning. We were really down. We were down to our last at-bat and they (Corry) were rallying, they had all the momentum and we were able to rally ourselves. It says a lot about the character of the girls, not giving up when they were down," White said.
Weaver opened the inning with a walk. Smith gave Punxsy its first out when she couldn't reach first in time off her grounder. Reed followed with a grounder to Hasbrowek, but Reed used to her speed to reach safely. Her single also allowed Weaver to reach third.
While White was at bat, Weaver tied the game when she crossed home on a wild pitch. White was then walked to reach the first bag. Reed and White caught the Corry defense sleeping after the walk, as White stole second and preoccupied the defense long enough to allow Reed to score Punxsy's eighth run. Hadden scored the final run with her blast to center field that scored White, and Hadden almost recored a triple, but was tagged out on her way there. Snyder gave Punxsy its third out when she was forced out 5-3. Punxsy had captured a 9-7 lead.
Corry had one last shot at victory in its final stand at the plate. Snyder forced Dennis and Sonntag into two quick outs. After that, Cubero was able to reach first on an error by Jones. Cubero was then walked to put two runners on base for Corry. The pressure did not bother Snyder, as she forced Corry's final batter, Saltsman, to ground out to first baseman Aikens to secure Punxsy's 9-7 victory.