Errors, strikeouts lead to Punxsy's first loss

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Four errors, 10 strikeouts and 10 men left on base dropped the Punxsy baseball team to its first loss of the season Friday, 6-1, at Hollidaysburg.

The Chucks (4-1) fell behind 6-0 after four innings before they scored their only run in the fifth. While the Golden Tigers (5-1) were building their lead with two runs in the first and third innings and one run in the second and fourth innings, Punxsy was leaving multiple runners on base nearly every inning.

Of the 10 runners Punxsy stranded, five occurred during the first two innings.

"The difference was they cashed in on our mistakes, and we did not capitalize on opportunities," Punxsy first-year manager Mike Dickey said. "The encouraging thing was that we made that many mistakes, and we were in the game against a good team."

For the first time this season, Punxsy played on the road and against a team that wasn't competing in its season-opener.

Hollidaysburg senior starting pitcher Nathan Pope was on top of his game, striking out 10 batters during a complete-game effort that included four walks. Pope constantly pitched around Punxsy's base runners and allowed just four hits.

"We ran into a good pitcher, there's no question," Dickey said. "We tip our hat to them. The kid threw a nice game, throws hard and mixes his pitches well. He's definitely the best pitcher we've seen this season."

Punxsy turned three double plays, and catcher Jordan Mesoraco caught a Hollidaysburg runner attempting to steal second base. Punxsy dropped two balls in the outfield and made four miscues total.

"Our middle infield looked really good. Ty (Zimmerman at second base) and Zak (Dickey) worked pretty well together, and I thought Jordan played well behind the plate," manager Dickey said. "But it's seven innings from nine guys that we have to put together."

Zak Dickey singled to start the fifth inning, stole second base and later scored on a two-out single by Tyler Skerkavich for Punxsy's only run.

The Chucks left the bases loaded in the first inning and stranded a pair of runners during both the second and seventh innings. Two of those rallies ended on a strikeout.

Skerkavich singled twice in the game, and Zimmerman also singled.

"We had our changes. We had some at-bats that weren't what they needed to be," manager Dickey said. "With runners in scoring position, we have to put the ball in the play. We defintely had too many strikeouts."

Punxsy senior Joe Pisano took the loss.

He pitched four innings and allowed six runs (three earned) on four hits with four walks, one strikeout and one hit batter.

Sophomore Jamie Bush threw the first two innings of his varsity career, surrendering one hit with three walks and one strikeout.