PUNXSUTAWNEY — While Punxsutawney couldn’t quite put Brookville away easily, it still managed to grab the winners’ bracket title and earned the “King’s Seat” for the District 10 Little League All-Star Baseball tournament.
Punxsutawney’s 8-5 win Tuesday night made it the only unbeaten in the seven-team, double-elimination tournament. There are just three teams left, with Brookville facing DuBois tonight at Zufall Field in Brookville. The winner has to beat Punxsutawney twice, Saturday and then Monday if a second game is indeed needed.
Punxsutawney beat DuBois, 8-0, back on June 29.
In Tuesday’s win, Punxsutawney scored four of its runs in the first inning and then stranded 13 runners in its next four at-bats, including the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings.
Punxsutawney led 6-1 going into the bottom of the third before Brookville scored three runs, two of them unearned thanks to a couple of errors. Jack Pete reached on a one-out error and came around to score on Carter Kessler’s single followed by an outfield error. Kellan Haines singled in a run.
Two runs in the fourth extended Punxsutawney lead to 8-4. Bases-loaded walks to Zach Presloid and Luke Miller pushed home runs.
Brookville made it interesting in the bottom of the fifth when Riley Smith doubled, Haines singled and Charlie Krug singled in Smith to start the inning with no outs. After starter Coy Martino struck out Jack Knapp for the first out, he hit his 85-pitch limit Neese replaced him, retiring the next five batters to get the save.
Martino struck out nine in 4 1/3 innings, giving up six hits and walking two. Neese struck out three of the five batters he faced in a perfect outing that netted a save.
Brookville’s first run came home on Krug’s leadoff homer in the second inning, a line drive shot to left field. Krug and Haines each had two hits, accounting for four of the six off Martino and Neese.
Kiehl, Kessler, Haines and Knapp all pitched for Brookville, combining on an eight-hitter with eight walks and four strikeouts.