Punxsy advances to District 10 bracket final

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Already leading 9-5, Punxsy's 10-&11-year old All-Stars brought 14 hitters to the plate in the top of the fifth inning and doubled its run total on the way to an 18-5 victory over DuBois Saturday in Punxsutawney.

"Everything carried over from up in Warren like I had hoped it would, especially at the plate," Punxsy manager Brad Gigliotti said.

Nine of the first 10 batters that Punxsy brought to the plate in the fifth inning reached base via base hits.

Carl Medsger led off the inning with a double off of DuBois relief pitcher Doran Walker.

Tyler Richardson singled for Punxsy, and Medsger and Richardson both scored on a two-RBI single by No. 9 hitter Matt Greenblatt.

Brandon Matthews singled, moving Greenblatt to third. Matthews went 5-for-5 for Punxsy and scored four runs.

Matt Blose and Alexander Neal followed with RBI singles. Sammy Gigliotti and Tyler Getch both singled and scored, and Punxsy's scoring was capped off by John Serian, who walked and later scored on an RBI single by Matthews.

"Brandon Matthews did an awesome job for us from the plate today," manager Gigliotti said, "but really everybody hit. All 13 kids, from the top to the bottom, hit the ball."

Punxsy also scored three runs in the first, second and fourth innings.

Matthews led off the first inning with a single, followed by a single by Blose. Sammy Gigliotti drove a double into the right-center gap, scoring both Matthews and Blose.

Gigliotti stole third base and scored on a passed ball before DuBois starting pitcher Nick Cotter could record the third out.

In the second, Serian was hit by a pitch and Richardson took advantage of Cotter's control issues by taking a walk.

Matthews singled to score Serian, and Kevin Constant hit an RBI groundout to the shortstop, scoring Richard. Blose added the third run with an RBI single.

For manager Gigliotti, though, Saturday's game was more than an offensive showcase.

"Some of the guys came up with really clutch plays defensively, especially early, to keep the game under control," he said.

The defense also got some help from a strong pitching performance by starting pitcher Matt Blose.

Blose pitched 4 2/3-innings before being removed because he was over the pitch limit. He allowed five runs on six hits, walking one and striking out seven.

"Every inning he came in he was more fired up, and his control was great today," Gigliotti said.

Gigliotti coached many of these same boys in the Minor League baseball All-Star tournament last year, and is surprised that this year's tournament is eerily similar to last year's.

Punxsy also lost an early game to DuBois in that tournament.

It then fell to the losers' bracket and won its next four games, including a losers' bracket final against DuBois and two wins to defeat the king-seed St. Marys.

This year, Punxsy hopes to reach the same result.

It will begin its effort against king-seed St. Marys today in St. Marys.

Gigliotti gave his team Sunday afternoon off to rest for the big game, but he did his best to motivate them after Saturday's game.

"I told them to carry the momentum over and keep it going. I said, 'Keep hitting, and keep making plays.' I'm really proud of them all," he said.