PUNXSUTAWNEY — In a battle of two undefeated teams coming into Tuesday afternoon, the DuBois Central Catholic softball team only managed to get one hit and just two baserunners against one of the toughest pitchers in the area in a 5-1 loss to Punxsutawney.
Lady Chucks hard-throwing pitcher Kylee Lingenfelter was tough to get anything off of on Tuesday, allowing just two baseerunners –one on a hit and one on a walk. She walked one and struck out 16 of the 23 batters she faced on the day.
“It was good that we saw that, but we didn’t have an opportunity to practice against that,” said DCC coach George Heigel. “Last year if we saw a hard thrower, we’d get in the cage and crank up the machine to about 65 and then it didn’t look so crazy fast when we got in the batters’ box against them.
“The way the schedule worked out, we didn’t have an opportunity to get in the batting cage before this game.”
The loss was the Lady Cardinals’ (16-1) first regular season loss since a 6-5 setback to A-C Valley on May 4, 2015. The Lady Cardinals had won 30 straight regular season games since that contest.
Punxsutawney remained unbeaten at 19-0 heading into its last game of the season this afternoon.
Both teams were set down in order in the first inning, and the Lady Cardinals’ first six batters of the game were set down via the strikeout.
In the bottom of the second, DCC pitcher Riley Assalone hit Alli Ishman to begin the inning. The next pitch, Tessa Winebark dropped down a bunt that was thrown away into right field, putting two runners in scoring position.
Kim Shoemaker then hit a single up the middle to score pinch-runner Olivia Weaver and Abby Gigliotti, who was courtesy running for Winebark.
The next play was also a bunt that was once again thrown away into right field, but this time DCC right fielder Sabrina Spencer nailed Morgan VanLeer at second base for the out.
Assalone got out of the inning with a line drive back at her, and another bouncer to the circle.
Alyssa Bittner led off the Lady Cardinals’ top of the third with a four-pitch walk, but Lingenfelter tightened up her pitches from there with two strikeouts and a popout.
Jordy Frank started the top of the fourth with the Lady Cardinals’ lone hit –a base hit into right field. The ball was misplayed by the Lady Chucks’ right fielder, allowing Frank to go to second on the play.
Frank moved to third on a one-out groundout to the shortstop, and scored on a Lingenfelter wild pitch to cut the Lady Chucks’ lead in half at 2-1.
From there, Lingenfelter retired the Lady Cardinals in the next 10 at-bats.
“I was a little disappointed we didn’t get the ball down on bunts today,” said Heigel. “Our small ball wasn’t very effective at all.
“Overall it wasn’t our best effort. It wasn’t what I was hoping for. It wasn’t horrific, but we’ll move on.”
Winebark made her presence known again in the bottom of the fourth as she blasted a solo home run to left field to give Punxsy a 3-1 lead.
The Lady Chucks added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to set the final. With one out, Toya Jones singled into left field before Lingenfelter helped herself with a gap shot into right field for a double. Jones scored from first base on the play.
Lingenfelter’s courtesy runner, Laney Monroe, moved to third base on a passed ball before Morgan Adamson lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to give Punxsy a 5-1 advantage.
Assalone allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits in her six innings of work. She walked one and struck out one.
“I just told them it’s all about how you react to this,” said Heigel. “We can move on and get on with our next two games and correct the issues or we can sulk about it. That will all work out. I think they’ll bounce back. We’ll find out tomorrow.”
The Lady Cardinals host Curwensville this afternoon before taking on cross-town rival DuBois in the City Classic on Friday to end the regular season.