DuBOIS — DuBois scored a pair of early runs and held off a late-game surge by Marion Center as it secured a 3-2 victory in an American Legion contest at Showers Field Thursday.
Marion Center got the first at-bats in the Jefferson County League contest as Matt Gaston led off with a soft ground ball to the right side.
Gaston’s speed forced DuBois’ second baseman Dayne Bauman to rush the play as he bobbled the ball and was unable to make a throw allowing Gaston to reach first safely.
After DuBois Post 17 starting pitcher Jeremy Krise got Vincent Fry to fly out to short for the first out of the frame, Gaston moved into scoring position by stealing second.
Tyler Lightcap followed by hitting a grounder to third, as Garrett Starr fired to first for the second out but Gaston used heads-up base running to move up to third just as Starr released the ball.
Krise then got Marion Center cleanup hitter Dylan Goss hit a soft grounder to third, as Starr charged the ball and made a strong throw for the final out of the inning as the game remained scoreless heading into the home half of the first.
DuBois’ leadoff batter Chandler Ho got the inning started by hitting a line drive into left field as Marion Center right fielder Malachi Pugh looked to come up throwing in hopes of throwing Ho out at first.
Instead the right fielder took his eye off the ball as it skipped underneath his glove and rolled all the way to the fence.
The error allowed Ho to race all the way around to score easily on the play and give DuBois an early 1-0 lead.
After a groundout to second for the first out of the inning, Eric Schneider drove a pitch back through the middle of the infield for a single.
Schneider then stole second before Marion Center starting pitcher Tyler Howells recorded a strikeout for out number two.
Jordan Frano then delivered a two-out RBI, singling into right field to bring home Schneider and give DuBois a 2-0 lead after one inning of play.
Marion Center was able to cut the deficit in half in the second inning behind a leadoff triple to left-center field by Clayton Coble.
A strikeout followed for the first out of the inning, as Krise then struck out Marcus Badzik for what appeared to be the second out of the inning.
Instead the third strike was dropped, as Badzik beat DuBois catcher Frano’s throw to first and Coble also raced home to score Marion Center’s first run of the game on the play.
Krise was able to keep things there by forcing the next batter to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play as Schneider flipped to Bauman for the force at second who fired to first baseman Garrett Prosper to end the top half of the second.
The game remained 2-1 into the fifth despite each side having their chances to add to their respective run totals.
DuBois looked to respond right away in the bottom of the second as Starr led off the inning by working a walk, but any hopes of a big inning were quickly dashed by a double play as Gaston fielded a grounder at second, tagged out Starr then fired to first for the 4-3 double play.
The double play started a stretch of eight DuBois batters being retired in a row, as the home side was sat down in order in both the third and fourth innings.
Marion Center looked to take advantage of the home side’s mid-game struggles at the plate as it looked to tie the game.
In the top of the third, Howells helped his own cause by singling to center field to start the inning as he was replaced by courtesy runner Jacob Himes.
With Gaston at the plate, Himes was nearly picked off first a couple different times, once by Krise on the mound and another by Frano behind the plate.
Himes’ base running woes would continue when Gaston grounded out to Prosper at first who stepped on the bag and looked to throw Himes out at second.
The throw to second sailed over the bag and into left field as Himes looked to advance to third but stutter-stepped halfway there which proved costly.
DuBois left fielder Justin Swagger backed up the play well and fired a strike to Starr at third who applied the tag to finish off the improbable 3-7-5 double play.
Krise then forced a groundout back to the mound to end the top of the third as he continued that momentum over into the fourth where he retired the first two Marion Center batters of the inning.
Coble looked to start a two-out rally has he drove a pitch down the line in left field and looked to record his second extra-base hit of the evening.
Instead, Swauger tracked down the ball and fired to Bauman at second base who got the tag down in time for the final out of the inning as Swauger recorded his second outfield assist of the game.
After Krise retired the side in order in the top of the fifth, DuBois got to work in the home half of the inning looking to add an insurance run.
Swauger got the inning started by singling to left, but appeared to be injured on the play as he was replaced by pinch runner Kenny Garvey.
Garvey then promptly stole second before a fly out to left field resulted in the first out of the inning.
Alex Pasternak followed by ripping a single down the left-field line as Garvey came around to score to give DuBois a 3-1 lead heading into the sixth inning.
The insurance run proved to be huge for DuBois, as Marion Center got a run back right away in the top half of the sixth.
After Krise forced a fly out to right to begin the inning, he then issued a walk to Gaston which put an end to his day on the mound.
Krise went 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on just three hits and a walk while striking out a pair to pick up the win.
DuBois then turned to Zach Spellen on the mound as he hit the first batter he faced in Fry to put two runners on with one away.
Marion Center then put on the double steal as both runners moved into scoring position, as a groundout to second by Lightcap scored Gaston to cut the deficit in half at 3-2.
With Fry on third, Spellen preserved the lead by striking out Goss for the final out of the frame.
In the bottom of the inning DuBois looked to add another insurance run as Ho led off with a single to center and stole second with nobody out, but the next three batters were retired in order as he was stranded there.
Starr took the mound for DuBois in the seventh, retiring Marion Center’s 5-6-7 hitters in order including knocking down a hard line drive by Brandon Gaston and throwing to Prosper at first for the game’s final out.
DuBois is back in action Sunday on the road against Punxsutawney for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.