Crago pitches, hits, motivates Punxsy to win

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsy senior Shawnna Crago wasn't going to let the Lady Chucks softball team lose to St. Marys Thursday afternoon.

Her optimism kept the team going. While it trailed early, she smacked a triple that gave Punxsy a jump start on offense, and her pitching sealed the game.

Crago struck out nine Lady Dutch batters and scored a run to lead the Lady Chucks to a 4-3 win.

"I was really happy with how Shawnna played today," Punxsy manager Alan Pifer said. "She kept us in the game with her pitching. She made a mistake early when she hesitated on a comebacker, but she played great."

Punxsy (2-0) fell behind 3-0 after the first three innings and was struggling to find an answer for St. Marys starting pitcher Rachel Ginther.

Ginther held Punxsy without a hit for four innings and finished the game with 10 strikeouts.

"I knew going in that she was a good pitcher, and she pitched really well against us when we played the second time last year," Pifer said. "She's the real deal. We knew that we would hit her eventually, but she held us down for a while."

The Lady Dutch (0-1) scored two runs in the first inning and another in the third because of defensive miscues by Punxsy.

The Lady Chucks started their comeback in the fourth inning when Crago tripled to right field and scored on a throwing error to cut the Lady Dutch's lead to 3-1. In the fifth inning, Punxsy's Hannah Giavedoni reached base after St. Marys Mandy Gerarge dropped a fly ball in left field.

Kristen Fedder then reached second on two throwing errors, and Giavedoni scored to cut the 3-2.

Alex Magill was substituted as a pinch runner and tied the game after she stole third and was driven home by Ashley Barenchik.

Barenchik scored the game-winning run when Hannah Neal grounded out to short.

Pifer said that he was pleased with how his team played, especially considering that it hadn't been able to practice outside much during the past week.

"Both teams made a lot of mistakes today," Pifer said. "St. Marys was playing their first game today, and their girls were probably a little nervous. It's hard to take what you do on the practice field or in the gym to the field. It's a different experience."

The Lady Chucks will compete in their first road game of the season at 4 p.m. today in Hollidaysburg.