GUYS MILLS — One more victory.
That’s all the stands in the way of the 2017 edition of the DuBois Senior League All-Star baseball team from becoming the first DuBois squad to reach the Pennsylvania State Tournament since the event moved to Showers Field in 2014.
DuBois put itself in the drivers seat at the Section 1 Tournament with its second convincing win in as many days Thursday at Jake Boyle Memorial Field in Guys Mills.
Thursday’s victim was District 1 champ Titusville, a combination team that received approval to reportedly feature players from the Clarion, Clarion-Limestone and North Clarion school districts.
That mattered little Thursday, as the right arm of Anthony Kness and the bat of Eric Schneider powered DuBois past Titusville, 12-0, in six innings and into Saturday’s section title game.
Schneider also did his part with the arm, as he and Kness combined on a no-hitter. Kness did a bulk of that work, tossing five no-hit innings. He did walk six batters but also struck out seven.
Schneider retired the side in order, including two strikeouts, in the sixth to finish off the no-no. Schneider also enjoyed a big day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double, home run and four RBIs.
He also added three stolen bases for the second straight day while scoring twice. Schneider’s three-run homer to left field in the top of the sixth put the 10-run mercy rule into play as it gave DuBois a 12-0 lead.
Schneider wasn’t the lone DuBois player to find success at the plate, though, as the team pounded out 11 hits for the second straight game. But, unlike Wednesday when DuBois struck out 12 times in a 10-2 win over Oil City, the District 10 champs didn’t strike out once Thursday.
Dylan McCluskey, Noah Bloom and Tyler McIntosh joined Schneider in having two hits on the day. McCluskey drove in two runs, while Bloom had a RBI and two runs scored.
“I’m real happy with today’s game. We put everything together today,” said DuBois manager Rich Petrillo. “Kness pitched a great game, and we used another pitcher we hadn’t used yet, and Schneider came through. And, his bat has woke up and given us some hits and runs — including a home run today.
“We have all of our pitching left except for Mr. Kness, so everybody is available come Saturday. Our defense was kind of worrying me, but it’s been a real plus up here.
“So, we’re where we want to be, but we still have to finish it.”
DuBois wasted little time jumping on Titusville starter Matson Higgins.
McCluskey beat out an infield single to open the game, while Justin Swauger was hit by a pitch. Singles by Bloom and Jordan Frano then scored McCluskey and Swauger, respectively, to put DuBois up 2-0.
Bloom later scored on a failed pickoff attempt at third by Huggins to give DuBois a 3-0 lead.
DuBois added to that lead with a pair of runs in the second.
Swauger led off the inning and was hit for a second time before Bloom ripped a double to right field to put two runners in scoring position. Frano stepped in and hit a grounder to third, and Titusville’s Devin Walters threw home to get Swauger in a rundown. Swauger stayed alive long enough for Frano to reach second before being tagged out.
Garrett Prosper then scored Bloom on a groundout, while Schneider doubled home Frano to make it 5-0.
Titusville put together its biggest threat of the game in the bottom of the third when Kness walked the bases loaded after getting two quick outs. However, the righty quickly halted the rally there when he struck out Brian Clark looking to end the inning.
Titusville managed just two runners — a pair of walks in the fifth — the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, DuBois tacked on a run in the top half of the fourth thanks to shaky Titusville defense.
Kness drew a leadoff walk and was replaced by special pinch runner Damon Olson, who promptly took second on another failed pickoff try — this one by Clark. Olson went to third when Keith Fatula reached on an error and scored on yet another botched pickoff attempt.
Leading 6-0, DuBois put the game away early with three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.
All three runs in the fifth scored with two outs, with a walk by Schneider starting the rally. He stole second before being caught between second and third in a rundown on a pickoff play a couple pitches later. Schneider made Titusville make several throws before eventually outrunning a defender to third.
That hustle proved key, as pinch-hitter Chase Hickman followed with a RBI double to deep center field. A walk by Dayne Bauman and a single from McIntosh loaded the bases for McCluskey, who ripped a two-run single to left to put DuBois up 9-0.
Schneider’s three-run bomb to left in the sixth closed out the scoring. Frano (fielder’s choice) and Prosper (walk) scored on the homer.
DuBois now awaits the winner of today’s 6 p.m. losers’ bracket game between Titusville and Oil City. Weather permitting, the tournament will end Saturday, with the winner of that game needing to beat DuBois twice for the title.
The first championship game Saturday is slated for 3 p.m., while an “if necessary” game would be played immediately after that contest.