SMETHPORT — The DuBois Junior League All-Star baseball team saw its postseason run come to an end Wednesday with a pair of losses at the Section 1 Tournament in Smethport.
And, those two losses couldn’t have come in more drastic fashion.
DuBois actually opened the tournament Tuesday night, but saw its game against Harborcreek suspended in the top of the second with the District 3 champs leading 1-0.
When play resumed early Wednesday afternoon, DuBois couldn’t solve Harborcreek starter Heath Betza, who allowed just two baserunners in a complete-game shutout in his team’s 8-0 victory.
Betza took a no-hitter into the seventh before Noah Farrell broke it up with a one-out single. The only other runner Betza allowed was in the first inning Tuesday night as he retired the first 16 DuBois hitters he faced Wednesday.
DuBois’ Danny Dixon tried to match Betza on Wednesday and kept Harborcreek off the board in thw second and third innings after the District 3 champs started the day with a 1-0 advantage.
Harborcreek doubled its lead against Dixon with a run in the fourth in a sacrifice fly before seizing control of the game with three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
That proved be more than enough offense for Betza, as he and Harborcreek once again proved to be a thorn in the side of DuBois in All-Star play. A large number of the current DuBois players also lost to Harborcreek at sections each of the last All-Star postseasons in younger age divisions.
Yet another loss to its nemesis dropped DuBois in the losers’ bracket against French Creek Valley later Wednesday afternoon in a 4 p.m. contest.
Offense wasn’t a problem for DuBois in that matchup, as the District 10 champions scored 11 runs in four innings.
Unfortunately, defense was as DuBois committed eight errors between third and fourth innings (4 in each) that led to 19 runs in those two frames for French Creek in what turned out to be a 21-11, 5-inning mercy rule victory that ended DuBois’ season.
Things started off quietly enough in the first two innings.
After a scoreless top of the first, DuBois starter Grady Galiczynski worked out of a mini-jam in the bottom half as French Creek got a single and double with one out.
However, Galiczynski recorded a strikeout for out No. 2, then hustled in to cover home on a wild pitch and tagged out Luke Young as he tried to score from third to end the inning.
DuBois then grabbed the lead with a run in the top of the second.
Danny Dixon was hit to open the inning, the stole second before taking third on an infield single by Walker Thomas. He then scored on a failed pickoff at third by catcher Gabe Jordan to make it 1-0.
French Creek Valley answered right back in the bottom of the second with back-to-back, two-out RBI singles to take a 2-1 lead.
DuBois then appeared to grab control of the game with a big seven-run inning to on top 8-2.
DuBois quickly loaded the bases on walks by Galiczynski, Samson Deeb and Talon Hodge, with spelled the end for Manning on the mound. Noah Farrell greeted French Creek’s reliever with a sacrifice fly to deep to right field to plate Galiczynski, while Dixon played Deeb with a single to put DuBois back on top 3-2.
DuBois was far from done in the inning, putting together a two-out rally to score five more runs in the frame.
Pinch-hitter Riley Fields reached on a two-out error to extend the innings, and the flood gates opened from there. Walker Thomas followed with a walk to load the bases before Hunter Allman hit a sinking liner in right that French Creek’s Ethan Maddox couldn’t run in to get. Two runs scored on the play.
Galiczynski then beat out an infield single that plated another run. A late throwing error on the play allowed DuBois’ seventh and final run in the inning to cross the plate and make 8-2.
That lead proved to be short-lived though, as French Creek responded with nine runs of its own in the bottom of the third to regain the lead at 11-8. French Creek had four hits, four walks and a hit batsman in the inning around four DuBois errors that led to just four runs being earned.
The wild back-and-forth game continued in the fourth as DuBois pushed three runs across to pull even at 11-11.
DuBois loaded the bases with no outs as Dixon reached on an error, Trenton Miller was hit by a pitch and Fields walked.
Thomas plated Dixon on a sacrifice fly, while Galiczynski drew a bases-loaded walk two hitters later to force in Miller. Deeb scored the third run to tie the game when he hit into a fielder’s choice.
French Creek countered with a crazy 10-run bottom of the fourth that featured four more DuBois errors along with five hits. The first 10 French Creek batters who came to the plate all scored before DuBois reliever Farrell eventually got his team out of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts to strand a pair of runners in scoring position.
Needing a run to extend the game, DuBois got a one-out walk from Dixon in the fifth. He promptly stole second but never moved from there as a pair of flyouts ended the game and DuBois’ All-Star run this summer.