PUNXSUTAWNEY — One game does not make a softball season.
In what could be the first of three rounds, the St. Marys Lady Dutch scored a trio of runs in the top of the fifth and held off the Punxsy Lady Chucks to take Round One, 5-2, on Thursday afternoon in Punxsutawney.
The Lady Chucks (6-2) produced four hits and plated single scores in the first and second innings for a 2-0 lead.
The home team could not put together more than one hit in an at bat over the final five innings, including none in the sixth or seventh.
“We weren’t able to put our hits together. We hit the ball and made decent contact,” explained Punxsy head coach Alan Pifer.
St. Marys heated up, on the other hand, as the game progressed.
After having eight of their first nine hitters retired, the Lady Dutch lined eight hits and touched home plate five times between the third and fifth frames for their five runs.
“That’s a good team (St. Marys). They’ve been gunning for us for some years now,” stressed Pifer. “They have good hitting and have tough outs at the top of the lineup.”
At the plate, Sydney Phillips paced Punxsy with two of the team’s seven hits. The center fielder smacked a run-scoring single and a double.
Emily Horner and Ashley Walls both doubled.
Chelsea Engeholm, Ivy Phillips and Monica Cameron rounded out the Lady Chucks' hits.
“We had some well-hit balls, but probably didn’t string them together,” added Pifer.
St. Marys outhit Punxsy by two hits, 9-7, as well as by three runs on the scoreboard.
“Their balls hit were driven. Most hits were well-hit balls,” said the Punxsy coach.
After a scoreless top of the first, Engeholm walked, was sacrificed to second by Walls and scored the first run on Sydney Phillips' single. Ivy Phillips followed with a single, but the two Punxsy base runners were stranded with the 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Dutch were set down in order in the second before the Lady Chucks added a tally to their total.
Horner belted a deep double to center field to lead off. Cameron laid down a sac bunt to put Horner at third base. Two batters later, Engeholm singled past second to score Horner for a 2-0 home lead.
St. Marys’ pitcher Andrea Copelli would settle down from that point on. She would allow the home club only one hit for each of the third, fourth and fifth innings before retiring the side in order the final two frames.
“That was a good pitcher for St. Marys. You have to give her credit,” commented Pifer.
Trailing 2-0 with two outs in the top of the third, St. Marys put together four consecutive singles to tie the game at 2.
The score remained tied until the fifth.
The Lady Dutch’s Taylor Bellina dropped a leadoff two-bagger down the left field line. A Punxsy error allowed Bellina to score for the first St. Marys lead, 3-2.
Hayley McGowan kept the hot at bat going with a double to left center to score the second tally, before she came around to home on the single up the middle by the next batter, Cassie Wonderling, for a 5-2 contest.
The two teams will have to be ready to see each other again in a short amount of time.
Due to two earlier postponements, Punxsy will travel to St. Marys on Monday for the second edition of the regular-season series.
The Lady Chucks will have the best medicine for a tough loss today. The hometown club will entertain Curwensville in a 4:15 p.m. affair.
“We will see the character of the team in how they bounce back,” forecasted Pifer.
The talented junior varsity Lady Chucks again made quick work of their opponent in the Lady Dutch Thursday.
After allowing a score in the top of the first, Punxsy exploded for 12 runs of its own before 15-run mercy-ruling St. Marys, 17-2 in three innings.
The JV Lady Chucks first six hitters all recorded two hits apiece as part of a 16-hit attack.
Jensen Constantino and Kara St. Clair laced the only two extra base hits with a double to go with a single by each.
Anna Horner, Nicole DiPietro, Shaina Painter and Alyssa Reitz singled two times.
Shaina DeFoor, Amber Ward, Bali Primm and Taylor Medsger added a hit apiece to round out the home offense.
DiPietro picked up the mound win, where she allowed four hits and struck out three.