DuBOIS — Brady Caylor hadn’t pitched in two weeks since a forgetful outing against the DuBois Rockets. Thomas Plummer just threw 100 pitches two days before that.
And Kane McCall was an hour away when he got off work at 5 p.m. selling windows in Rural Valley.
However, all three combined on a one-hitter and led the Grays to a series-clinching 2-0 win over the Pulaski Generals in the fifth game of their Federation League semifinal series last Thursday at Showers Field.
“I didn’t expect this to happen, after the other night (Game 4 loss Wednesday), I thought we were just gonna come up here and go through the motions, but we changed our mind,” Brookville manager Bob McCullough said. “We did a pretty good job and I’m happy with the outcome.”
Caylor threw the first three innings and didn’t give up a run despite hitting the first two batters he faced — he picked off Bryson Paulinellie after hitting him to start the game — and gave up the Generals’ lone hit on Drew Bankovich’s one-out single in the third inning.
Then Plummer, who threw over 100 pitches in the Grays’ Game 3 win last Tuesday, went three innings and walked three and hit two batters. He stranded runners on first and second in the fifth inning and second and third in the sixth.
“Basically, I wasn’t in the pre-game plan, but I told them during batting practice that I could throw and my arm wasn’t that sore,” Plummer said. “It was winner-take-all, so I was bound to do the whole game if I had to.
“My arm didn’t bother me as much as my legs and I noticed something in my plant knee I hadn’t before and was iffy on that, but it’s game five.”
With a 2-0 lead, Plummer yielded to McCall in the seventh and he retired the side in order.
“I just wanted to get here honestly and just watch baseball and then if I could help at some point, get out there and do it,” said McCall, who left Rural Valley and got to Showers as Hunter Geer made a sliding catch of Braden Paulinellie’s liner to shallow right-center field for the first out in the bottom of the fourth.
“That was kind of nice to walk into and then I started getting loose in case and Plumm said he was done,” McCall said.
The Grays managed to scratch two runs off Pulaski lefty Phil Myers, who beat them in the series-opener.
Caylor reached on an infield error to start the game, then scored on Aaron Park’s forceout grounder.
In the third, the Grays punched three straight singles off Myers with two outs, but Joey Lopez was thrown out at the plate by centerfielder Bryson Paulinellie for the final out.
The Grays’ second run came in the fifth. Chase Palmer singled and was forced out on Drew Celis’ grounder. Two straight infield singles by Caylor and Lopez loaded the bases before Nathan Bonfardine’s groundout to short pushed home Celis.
Lopez and Bonfardine each had two hits as the Grays managed seven off Myers who walked just one (intentionally) with three strikeouts.
It was the third time in four straight years of playoff matchups that the Grays beat the Generals, including last year’s four-game sweep in the finals.
In last Wednesday’s game:
WEDNESDAY, July 22
Also at Showers Field in DuBois, the Generals bounced back from Tuesday’s 6-5 loss to force a deciding fifth game as broke up a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth with three runs.
The Generals actually had to break up Grays pitcher Hunter Geer’s no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth with Jace Miner’s leadoff single.
Miner’s single started the rally. The batting order then turned over for Bryson Paulinellie, who dropped a bunt down the third-base line and narrowly beat out the throw for a single to put runners at first and second with nobody out.
Braden Paulinellie followed by roping a pitch into the right-center field gap for a double to score Miner from second while Bryson Paulinellie hustled around to score all the way from first on the hit.
A productive out from Corey Bookhamer on a groundout to second allowed Braden Paulinellie to advance to third with one away before Geer looked to get out of the inning with a groundout to short.
Instead, Phil Myers connected with a full-count pitch to drive a single into left-center to score Braden Paulinellie for the third run of the inning to make it a 4-1 game.
In a series that has been full of seventh-inning drama, the Grays looked to continue the trend with a rally as Thomas Plummer was able to reach on a dropped third strike to start the frame.
Bookhamer, who went the distance on the mound for Pulaski, then forced Sam Leadbetter to fly out to left field on the first pitch of the at-bat for the first out of the inning.
The Generals starter finished with one run allowed on four hits and a walk while striking out five over seven innings on the mound.
Doc Nieman followed by hitting a sharp grounder to third, as third baseman Garrett Starr threw to second baseman Mike Misiewicz to force out Plummer as Misiewicz then fired to Myers at first to finish off the game-ending double play.
The game was dominated by pitching early, as Bookhamer and Geer, who allowed his first earned runs of the season in the loss, went toe-to-toe over the first three innings as each faced just one batter over the minimum though three innings of work.
Geer, making his sixth appearance of the season, had allowed just six unearned runs on the year, but surrendered four earned runs on four hits over six innings while walking none, striking out one and hitting a pair.
The Generals scored the game’s first run in the fourth when Braden Paulinellie was hit by a pitch and scored on Adam Bankovich’s flyout to left.
The Grays knotted it at 1-1 in the top of the fifth when Thomas Plummer scored on the front end of a delayed double steal of home.
Courier-Express sports writer Craig Moyer contributed to this story.