DuBOIS — The saying is “Go big or go home” but going big almost wasn’t enough for the Brookville Little League All-Star baseball team as it needed a late push to pick up a 15-11, seven-inning victory over DuBois in the District 10 Southern Tier semifinals Wednesday.
The Brookville bats connected for six home runs in the contest, including two grand slams, but it was a six-run, seventh inning that finally pushed them across the line.
Brookville’s Jamison Rhoades delivered the offensive punch early as he hit a pair of homers, the second with the bases full, in his first two at-bats while Carson Weaver, Hunter Greeley, Logan Brown and Noah Shaffer had the others.
Brown and Shaffer, who hit the other grand slam, had the final two in Brookville’s last turn at the plate, helping to break a 9-9 tie.
Brown and Shaffer both had three hits apiece while Rhoades, and Greeley each had two. Rhoades finished with five RBIs while Shaffer drove in four.
Greeley picked up the victory in relief, allowing two runs, one earned, on one hit while walking three and striking out none in just over two innings of work.
Still, while Brookville had the longball working, it turned out that it needed all of it as it tried to fend off a feisty DuBois team that simply refused to go away.
The closest DuBois got to the lead was a tie but it certainly had some chances to push across some more runs at key times.
One of those times came in the fourth with runners on second and third with just one out, later bases loaded with two, trailing by a run but Brookville was able to come away unscathed.
Other than that, DuBois certainly took advantage of what it was given as it managed just eight hits but worked a trio of Brookville pitchers for 13 walks.
Carter Hickman, who delivered a two-run home run to tie the game at 9-9 in the bottom of the fifth, was the only DuBois player to finish with more than a single hit as he went 3-for-4 with the home run, three RBIs and also scored three runs.
Cartar Kosko and Joe Foradora also drove in a pair for DuBois while Aaron Andrulonis and Neel Gupta scored two runs each.
Matt Pyne, who came on in relief in the sixth and shut down Brookville to keep DuBois’ chances alive, didn’t fare as well in the seventh as he gave up two runs, including the go-ahead home run to Brown to suffer the loss.
Things looked bad for DuBois early as Rhoades and Weaver both hit solo home runs in the top of the first off Andrulonis, the DuBois starter, to spot it a 2-0 lead.
DuBois came back to tie the game on a single by Kosko in the bottom of the inning that drove in one while another scored on an error to make it 2-2.
But Brookville broke out big in the second, thanks to Rhoades’ grand slam, scoring five times to go up 7-2.
DuBois got one back in the bottom of the frame before Brookville added another on an unearned run on the third to open up an 8-3 advantage.
But DuBois rallied again, this time scoring four times, including a pair on a two-run single by Foradora to trim the margin to 8-7.
While both teams went scoreless in the fourth, DuBois did threaten by loading the bases with two outs, before Brookville put up another on an unearned run in the top of the fifth to make it 9-7.
Hickman finally brought DuBois the rest of the way back when he popped a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth to make it 9-9.
Brookville put runners on the corners in the sixth against DuBois reliever Nate Tyler with just one out before Pyne came on in relief to get DuBois out of the jam.
But, after DuBois went in order in the bottom of the sixth, Brookville took charge in the seventh.
Brown belted a leadoff home run down the line in left to break the tie before Rhoades drew a walk to chase Pyne from the mound.
DuBois’ Foradora, after sandwiching a pair of walks between two strikeouts, looked like he might get out of the jam but then gave up a grand slam to Shaffer followed by a solo shot by Greeley before Eric Bryan came on to record the final out.
DuBois was able to work Greeley for a couple of walks, an error and a single to plate two but came up short.
DuBois will now face St. Marys on Friday, while Brookville will host Johnsonburg/Kane on Sunday.