ST. MARYS — The St. Marys Minor League baseball team found themselves down three runs heading into the fifth inning on Monday evening against DuBois in the District 10 championship game, but scored eight runs in the final two innings to win the title, 16-12, at Memorial Park.
St. Marys went through the Minors bracket unbeaten through the district tournament. They defeated DuBois (6-4), Punxsutawney (7-5), Bradford (22-0) and DuBois for a second time on Monday for the title.
“We beat a great team in DuBois,” said St. Marys manager Randy Geci. “They’re well-managed. It was a well-played game.
“I’m proud of our team. They never gave up. They worked hard. They gave it all they had.”
With the win, St. Marys has now earned a spot in the Section 1 Tournament at Union City, which begins next week.
After losing its first game to St. Marys, DuBois battled all the way back through the losers bracket. They beat Brookville (7-3), Brockway (13-0 in four innings), Punxsutawney (14-12) and Bradford (20-10 in five innings) all while facing elimination.
Down 11-8 after four innings, Mason Nicklas got things going for St. Marys in the top of the fifth with a base hit off DuBois relief pitcher Danny Dixon. Charlie Geci followed with a walk, while Cameron Coudriet loaded the bases with an infield single.
Ben Reynolds then had an RBI single into center field to score Nicklas, while Wil Wortman came up with the big hit of the inning –a bases-clearing triple to left field. Wortman scored on the play after an error, giving St. Marys a 13-11 lead, which was their first lead since the first inning.
“We just kept telling them to keep their heads in the game and to concentrate on the fundamentals,” said Geci when asked about what he told the team before the fifth inning.
Ben Paul came on the mound for St. Marys in the bottom of the fifth, and quickly retired DuBois with a three up, three down inning.
St. Marys then went back to work and scored three more insurance runs. With two outs, Reynolds hit an RBI single for his fifth hit of the game to score Paul. Two batters later, Lance O’Neill drilled a two-run single to score Geci and Reynolds.
Reynolds was 5-for-5 with a double, five runs scored and two RBIs to lead St. Marys.
Paul got the first two outs of the bottom of the sixth quickly, but had a little trouble getting the third out.
Samson Deeb kept the game alive with a single into right field before Grady Galiczynski worked a walk. Noah Farrell then reached on an error, which scored Deeb on the play before Paul got the next out on a groundball that third baseman Ryan Shaffer scooped up and tagged out a runner between second and third base.
St. Marys scored three in the top of the first against Farrell, the DuBois starting pitcher, as O’Neill doubled in Reynolds before Joey Lease had a bases-loaded two-run single later in the inning.
But DuBois answered with a big inning of its own –scoring five runs in the frame off St. Marys starter Wil Wortman. After a walk from Deeb to start the bottom of the first and a one-out single from Farrell, Dixon scored them both on a two-run double. Dixon was tagged out trying to reach third on the play.
After two batters reached on an error and Boston Graham walked, Brycen Delany singled and got all the way to third base on the play after an error on the St. Marys center fielder. Three runs scored on the play, giving DuBois a 5-3 lead.
St. Marys got two runs back to tie the game at 5 apiece. Reynolds and Wortman had back-to-back doubles, with Reynolds scoring on Wortman’s two-bagger. Wortman scored later in the inning on an error.
DuBois added four more runs in the bottom of the second as Farrell had an RBI single, and Merek Hoyt came through with a two-run single. Deeb scored earlier in the inning on an error.
Both teams had a scoreless third inning before St. Marys scored three in the top of the fourth.
Reynolds, who singled in the inning, scored on an O’Neill groundout, while Cayden Vogt ripped a two-run single that brought home Wortman and Shaffer, cutting the DuBois lead to 9-8.
DuBois put across two runs –both with two outs –in the bottom of the fourth. After a Nathan Kougher single and walks to Deeb and Galiczynski, Farrell scolded a two-run single into left field to score Kougher and Deeb, giving DuBois an 11-8 lead going to the fifth.
Farrrell led DuBois with a 3-for-5 night with a double, two runs scored and three runs driven in.
The Section 1 Tournament begins on Monday in Union City. St. Marys will play the District 1 champion on Monday at 6 p.m.