BROOKVILLE — The Brookville Grays got a shutdown performance from Sam Leadbetter on the mound Monday, as they evened their Federation League semifinals series against Pulaski at 1-1 with a 7-0 victory at McKinley Field.
Leadbetter tossed a one-hit shutout as the righty silenced a Generals squad that had been swinging the bats well so far in the postseason. Leadbetter, who struck out three and walked four, was backed by a defense that plated error-free and turned two double plays.
Leadbetter’s effort was just what the Grays needed coming off a 4-2 loss in the series opener Sunday at Showers Field. That game was pushed back a day due to rain and played in DuBois, with the Grays being the home team. Pulaski was the home team in Brookville on Monday.
Game 3 will also be played at McKinley Field this evening, with the series returning to the original rotating schedule. Games 4 and 5 will be at Showers Field and McKinley Field on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, with the final two games taking place over the weekend if needed.
On Monday, the Grays got some of the clutch hits they couldn’t find in the opener. And, they did so against Pulaski lefty Phil Myers, who had enjoyed his own dominant performances against the Grays in the regular season.
Brookville finished with eight hits, and bunched them around three key Pulaski errors to push across more than enough runs for Leadbetter.
Nate Bonfardine led that attack, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBIs. Matt Bowser was 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored.
Myers was saddled with the loss, allowing six runs, three earned, on seven hits in four innings of work. He struck out one and walked two. Myers collected the Generals’ lone hit off Leadbetter — a single in the bottom of the sixth inning that followed a leadoff walk by Jackson Frank.
The sixth was one of just two innings Pulaski put two runners on base, but a double play helped Leadbetter work out of the inning and keep his shutout big intact. The Grays also turned a double play to end the game.
With Leadbetter silencing the Pulaski bats, Brookville slowly built its righty a lead by scoring in every inning but the fifth and seventh.
The Grays quickly grabbed the lead in the first.
Spencer Miller drew a leadoff, went to second on a wild pitch and was bunted to third by Bowser. Bonfardine then ripped a single to left to make it 1-0.
Brookville added to its lead in the second when Nick Bishop singled with one away and later scored on a two-out error to put the Grays up 2-0.
The Grays plated their third run in the third when Bowser ripped a leadoff double before scoring on a Jed Fiscus sacrifice fly to center.
Tanner Klen then kept the inning going with a two-out walk, while Leadbetter beat out an infield single. However, Myers stopped the damage there by getting Bishop to pop up to third to end the inning.
Brookville all but put the game away with a three-run fourth, as another Pulaski error opened the door for two more unearned runs to score.
Grayson Harman led off the inning with a single, but Myers retired the next two batters. A single by Bowser kept the inning alive for Bonfardine, who hammered a double to left to plate Harman.
Fiscus then reached on a throwing error that allowed both Bowser and courtesy runner Dane Lyle to score to give Brookville a 6-0 lead.
Rick Lines relieved Myers in the fifth and stranded Bishop, who stole second and third after walking, at third by striking out Dan Ion to end the inning.
Brookville then pushed across its final run in the top of the sixth.
Bowser reached on a one-out error and raced home from first when Bonfardine tripled over the head of Myers in center. That’s all Brookville could muster in the inning though.
Bonfardine dove back into third on a close tag play by third baseman Ty Bittner on a ball hit by Fiscus that put runners on the corners. The Generals defense quickly ended the inning from there when Lines got Klein to hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.