ST. MARYS — When given an opportunity, it is important to grab it with both hands and take advantage.
Punxsy sophomore Shaina Painter took hold of her opportunity in a big way Thursday afternoon.
Leading 1-0 in the top of the sixth, Painter laced a pinch hit two-run single to triple the Lady Chucks lead to 3-0.
Punxsy would need each of those two tallies driven in by Painter as host St. Marys plated two runs in the sixth. The Lady Chucks' pitcher Ashley Bacha would give nothing more to the Lady Dutch to take Round 2 of the District IX foes, 3-2.
"I am really pleased with the girls. As much as I was unhappy with them yesterday, I am that happy with them today," expressed Punxsy head coach Alan Pifer. "The girls really picked it up and did a great job today. They put the bat on the ball, as it was nice to see them bounce back again when their character was tested."
The Punxsy (9-3) win evened the regular-season series. Each team has now won on the other squad's home field, as St. Marys won in Punxsy last Thursday, April 25, by a 5-2 final.
After being no-hit by Clearfield on Wednesday, Punxsy produced seven hits in St. Marys.
Emily Horner and Ivy Phillips accounted for four of the seven hits with two each.
Horner belted a second- inning RBI double to go with a single and a run scored. Phillips scored two times to go with her pair of singles.
Painter added her game-winning two-run single.
Ashley Walls and Monica Cameron rounded out the hitting with a hit apiece.
Bacha had an extremely strong outing in the pitching circle. The senior fanned a season-high 12 St. Marys hitters, while giving up five hits, no earned runs and one walk.
"AB did a fantastic job, as it was one of her best games pitching all year," stressed Pifer. "Her one walk was intentional in the first inning. She was in command all day, hit her spots and had all her pitches working well. She only had one mistake in the sixth but came back to finish the game."
Following a scoreless first frame, Punxsy went in front.
Phillips reached on an error with one out. Horner drove the ball for a deep two-bagger to score Phillips for the game's first run.
"Emily's hit, we thought, was going to go out, as it just missed being a home run," explained the Punxsy coach. "She is hitting well and showing more confidence."
The contest remained 1-0 Lady Chucks for the next three innings.
In the top of the sixth, Phillips singled to lead off the Punxsy at bat. She was sacrificed to second by Mary Sloniger.
Horner singled and advanced to second without a throw to put both runners in scoring position.
Painter stepped into the batter's box to pinch hit and leveled the two-run single to score both runners for the 3-2 score.
"The real key hit was by one of our sophomores who we brought up from the JV team, Shaina Painter, as she drove in two," said Pifer.
Trailing 3-0, St. Marys made its push in the home sixth.
With one out, Hannah McGowan reached on a Lady Chucks' error.
Bacha then made her one pitching mistake of the day when power-hitting Cassie Wonderling connected for a two-run home run to make it 3-2.
Bacha bore down and held the Lady Dutch off the board over the final 1 2/3 innings for the Punxsy win.
The junior varsity Lady Chucks continued to roll the competition in their contest.
Punxsy led 3-0 before plating six tallies in the third frame and seven more in the fourth inning to take away a 16-1 mercy-rule victory over St. Marys.
The JV Lady Chucks scored 16 times on only nine actual hits.
Nicole DiPietro and Jensen Constantino recorded the only two extra-base hits with doubles.
Kara St. Clair lined three singles.
Anna Horner singled and scored three times, while Alyssa Reitz and Amber Ward added hits and came home two times.
Sam Satterlee rounded out the hits with a single.
St. Clair struck out five St. Marys' hitters while giving up only two hits and walking one.
Punxsy will complete its four straight days of games today, as it travels to battle Central Mountain in Wingate starting at 4:30 p.m.