PUNXSUTAWNEY — After two frustrating contests, Punxsy was able to take a second-inning lead and allow only two hits over the final frames on Tuesday afternoon.
Trailing 3-0, the Chucks plated six runs in the home second inning and added two more scores in the fourth to bounce the Clearfield Bison, 8-3.
“I like how we answered back when Clearfield took a 3-0 lead,” noted Punxsy head coach Mike Dickey. “We had just enough from our bats to win.”
Punxsy (3-2) recorded eight hits in the seven-inning contest, but did hold Clearfield to just four hits.
The Chucks’ four and five hitters produced the four key hits on the winning day.
Clean-up batter Jamie Bush doubled and scored to lead off the big six-run second and drove in the final tally of the frame. The senior also walked and scored in the fourth.
Number five man Michael Klingensmith followed Bush to drive him home as part of back-to-back doubles. The second baseman drove in a pair, including Bush with a second double in the fourth.
Ty Zimmerman, Garrett Zimmerman, Dakotah Byers and Christian Falgout each lined a single.
After a scoreless first inning, Punxsy put itself at a deficit.
The Bison started their second at bat with a single, but three Chucks’ errors and a walk would result in three visiting runs.
With starting pitcher Matt Burkett in the second-inning jam on the mound, freshman Lance Pennington was called upon to take the ball.
Pennington picked off a runner at second, induced a fly out and struck out the final Bison hitter looking to close out the second.
“Lance did great coming in and getting us out of the second-inning jam with no runs,” stressed Dickey.
In the bottom of the second, Bush pounded a double to center and came right home when lefty Klingensmith laced his own two-bagger to right field for the first Punxsy run.
After a ground out, Byers and Falgout added consecutive run-scoring singles to tie the contest at 3.
Taylor Phillips stepped in and was hit by a pitch. Clayton Dale flied out before Ryan Sloniger loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice.
Ty Zimmerman ground the ball to third, where the Clearfield third baseman misplayed the ball to score Falgout for the first Punxsy lead of the day.
Bush completed the scoring when he singled home both Punxsy runners for a 6-3 tally.
Clearfield tried to answer right back in the third.
After a lead off double, Pennington gave up two straight walks to load the bases without an out. The potential threat didn’t turn out to be one at all, as the Punxsy hurler blew the ball by the next three hitters on strikeouts to retire the side.
With the score still 6-3 in the home fourth, Punxsy would add a pair of insurance runs.
For the second time, Ty Zimmerman saw the Bison third baseman commit an error on his batted ball to reach base with two outs. The Chucks’ senior stole second and went to third on a passed ball.
Bush walked and quickly joined Zimmerman going around the bases on Klingensmith’s second double to right field for an 8-3 score.
Punxsy would not allow a Clearfield base runner to advance past second base over the final four frames for the victory.
“I am looking forward now to practicing and working on some areas instead of playing a game every day,” added the Punxsy coach.
After playing five times in eight days, the Chucks had Wednesday and today off.
Punxsy will travel to face DuBois Central Catholic on Friday starting at 4:15 p.m. before hosting a Saturday make-up affair with St. Marys starting at noon.
The Punxsy junior varsity squad enjoyed its own success against Clearfield.
The JV Chucks scored in their first five trips to the plate to record a 14-8 victory over the Bison.
"The bats are alive and well at the Punxsy JV level again, and it feels very good. Our lineup is getting stronger from the top to the bottom," said JV head coach Rodney Thompson.
Punxsy hitters produced five extra-base hits and 12 singles in a 17-hit attack on Clearfield JV pitchers.
Brandon Douthit blasted the biggest hit with a three-run home run.
Braxton Giavedoni accounted for three of the other four extra-base hits with a triple and two doubles for three RBI.
Ben Snyder lined a bases-clearing triple.
Dakota Thomas singled three times. Ethan Ambler, who had two RBI, and Dylan Huey connected for two hits apiece.
John Matthews, Brandon Blose, Jacob Tyger, Ryan Jones and Peyton Graham each added a single.
The Punxsy pitchers are still working out their kinks.
"Our pitching still needs some work, but Coach Hospodar and I feel that is coming along, because we have some very young guys out there on the mound," pointed out Thompson. "We want our pitchers to become pitchers, not throwers. Pitchers hit spots, they set up hitters, they change speeds, they get ahead in the count. But right now we are just trying to throw strikes, and that gives the opposing team too much of an opportunity to sit and wait for their pitch, and that is why so many runs are being scored."
Huey picked up the mound win. He was relieved by Jones and Taylor, before Blose came in to close the game.
"Brandon is really coming around as a viable pitcher. He has a good curve and is starting to hit his spots," finished the JV coach.