BROOKVILLE — Good pitching, timely hitting, solid defense, and heads-up baserunning turned out to be the winning recipe for the Brookville 11 and 12-year-old all-star team as they survived an elimination game thriller, a 6-4 victory over Punxsutawney on Wednesday evening at Zufall Field in Brookville.
Brookville led 6-3 entering the bottom of the sixth inning before Punxsy tried to make things really interesting, getting one run and having the bases loaded with two outs before a fielders choice grounder ended the game.
Hunter Roney walked the first batter in the sixth, Owen Wood. He moved to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout, Zeke Bennett drew a walk. Manager Rich Rhoades then brought on Hunter Greeley to pitch. Greeley induced an RBI groundout by Carter Savage. He then walked Jake Sikora and Zach Dinger to load the bases. He took the count full on Josh Tyger before he hit a groundball to Carter Kessler, who flipped to second baseman Riley Smith for the force on Dinger to end the game.
“Hunter has been our third pitcher and tonight he really was our third pitcher and he was able to come in and close the door for us,” said Rhoades. “Things got a little sticky there, but I felt confident that Hunter could do the job and finish things off and he did.”
Brookville scored two runs in the first, two in the third while adding single runs in the fourth and fifth.
Punxsy scored single runs in the second, third, fourth, and sixth.
Roney led the Brookville offense with a 3-for-4 night at the plate with a pair of doubles and an RBI and three runs scored. Logan Brown, Jamison Rhoades, Brayden Kunselman, Carson Weaver, Bryce Weaver, Greeley, and Espen Bonfardine each added one single. Rhoades, Kunselman, Carson Weaver, and Greeley added RBIs.
“Roney struggled in our last game so it was good for him to have a good game at the plate like this,” said Rhoades. Everyone did a nice job at the plate tonight and we did a really good job running the bases. Roney scored on a heads-up play on a wild pitch. I don’t know how many infield singles we beat out, which eventually led to runs.”
Justin Miller led Punxsutawney with two hits and an RBI. Bennett, Carter Savage, Sikora, Dinger, Tyger, and Alex Phillips all had one hit. Savage hit a double while Dinger added a solo home run. Bennett drove in a run.
Rhoades pitched the first 3 2/3 innings for Brookville to pick up the win. He allowed three earned runs on four hits. He walked two batters, hit one batter, and struck out one. Roney worked 1 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits. He walked three, hit one batter, and struck out one. Greeley worked 2/3 of an inning, allowing two walks to pick up the save.
“This was probably one of the better games we’ve seen from Jamison on the mound,” said Rhoades. “Even though Punxsy had runners on base in pretty much every inning, we were able to work out of things with our defense and making the right pitches at the right time.”
Kessler started the game by laying down a bunt and racing all the way to third when the throw to first sailed high. One out later, Roney doubled him home. After the second out, Carson Weaver hit an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
Punxsy scored their first run in the second as Tyger singled and later scored on a single by Miller to cut the lead to 2-1.
Brookville added two more runs in the third when Roney singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kunselman. He then stole third and scored on a wild pitch. Carson Weaver reached base on a strike out wild pitch and later would score on a single by Greeley for a 4-1 lead.
Punxsy would answer on a solo home run by Dinger to right field, cutting the lead to 4-2 after three.
Roney doubled and reached third on a throwing error after two outs in the fourth. Kunselman picked up an RBI on an infield single for a 5-2 lead.
Once again, Punxsy answered with a run in the bottom of the inning on three straight singles by Phillips, Miller, and Bennett, who picked up the RBI for a 5-3 deficit.
Rhoades added an RBI single in the fifth for the 6-3 lead.
Dinger suffered the loss for Punxsutawney on the mound, allowing six runs, five earned on seven hits. He walked three and struck out seven.
“Punxsutawney has a good team and we knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Rhoades. “Now we have to go play Johnsonburg who handled us pretty easily the last time. But, we’re going to go up there to do our best Friday to win and force the if necessary game on Sunday.”