Fifth-inning surge helps Williamsport win

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Once Williamsport figured out Punxsy starting pitcher Shawnna Crago Tuesday afternoon, the Lady Chucks' softball team couldn't contain the Lady Millionares' offense.

District VI Williamsport (12-4) used a five-run, seven-hit fifth inning to rally past Punxsy (8-3) and won 9-4 on the Lady Chucks' Senior Recognition Day.

Punxsy manager Alan Pifer said the fifth inning was the turning point.

"No doubt about it, we had jumped out to a 4-2 lead early," Pifer said. "But I told the girls that's a quality opponent, and those girls can really hit the ball. I've been following them in the papers and saw their coach (Quint Bower) said this is a team that only comes around once every 15 years, and I can see why. They're loaded."

The Lady Millionaires led early, as Brooke Pompeo scored on an Haley Benshaw single in the first inning.

Punxsy tied the game after Megan Muth hit a solo home run to right-center field off starting pitcher Alexis Bower in the second inning, bouncing off a truck's windshield. No damage was done to the truck.

"She absolutely crushed the ball," Pifer said. "There are some balls you hope that will go over, but there was no doubt about that one. I think that hit was important because we weren't hitting her before, and it kind of opened the team's eyes."

After falling behind 2-1 in the fourth, the Lady Chucks responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning.

Hannah Giavedoni singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a throwing error. Muth then walked behind her, putting runners on first and second.

A throwing error allowed Giavedoni to score and put runners on second and third for Kristen Fedder. Fedder singled and then was caught in a rundown, which allowed Muth and Ashley Couser to score.

Punxsy's 4-2 lead didn't last long, as Williamsport drove in five runs to take a 7-4 lead. The Lady Millionaires added runs in the sixth and seventh innings to seal the 9-4 win.

Bower held down Punxsy, striking out eight batters and allowing only two hits in the last three innings.

Williamsport manager Quint Bower said he was pleased with how his girls played after they settled in.

"We were trying too hard, and once we settled down and started swinging the bats more smoothly, we were able to catch up," he said. "Alexis pitched a good game for us. This is only her sophomore year, and she missed last year due to a torn ACL. She's still learning, and she's coming along well."