DuBOIS — The DuBois baseball team entered Tuesday’s matchup with rival Punxsutawney at Showers Field on the heals of back-to-back lopsided losses and in need of a win to turn around some early-season misfortunes.
And, the Beavers got just what the doctor prescribed when Chandler Ho’s two-out, walk-off single scored Chase Husted with the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth to give DuBois a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind victory. The win put the Beavers back at the .500 mark on the year at 3-3.
Things appeared to be headed in the other direction, though, when Punxsy capitalized on a huge fifth-inning error to score two unearned runs against DuBois starter Garrett Starr to take a 3-1 lead.
Starr became the first Beaver starter to go past the third inning this season and ended up with a no-decision after allowing three runs, one earned, on five hits in five innings of work.
Punxsy took that 3-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth before DuBois started its comeback. A one-out walk by Jordan Frano got things started before Eric Schneider hustled out an infield single.
Chucks starter Alec Greenblatt then got Jake Mowrey to ground out before Husted walked to load the bases. That brought Heath Means to the plate, and the junior delivered a huge single to right to score courtesy runner Gauge Gulvas and Schneider to tie things at 3-3.
Both teams stranded runners in scoring position in the seventh, with Punxsy reliever Daren Byers working out of a bases-loaded situation by striking out Mowrey for the final out.
Punxsy (3-3) went quietly in the top of the eighth against reliever Ho, with catcher Frano throwing out Sheldon Young trying to steal second after he reached on an error.
That set the stage for the bottom of the eighth.
Husted led off the inning with a walk and was bunted to second by Means. Dayne Bauman then lined out to short for out No. 2. That brought Ho to the plate, and the sophomore smacked a single to left.
A heavy wind blowing in allowed the Chucks outfielder to play a little more shallow than usual, but DuBois coach Todd Stiner waved Husted home on the hit — something he didn’t do with another runner in the sixth on a double by Frano. Punxsy ended up intentionally walking Schneider in that inning before Mowrey’s strikeout.
This time around Stiner’s decision paid off and resulted in a safe call at the plate when Husted slid in just ahead of the tag of Punxsy catcher Ashton Stonbraker. The Chuck fielded the throw well behind the plate and couldn’t quite get back in time to make the tag, sparking a big celebration on the field by the Beavers.
Ho’s huge hit ended up making him the winner on the mound after tossing two scoreless innings of relief. He allowed no hits while striking out two and walking one.
Teammate Jeremy Krise aided in the win by throwing a scoreless sixth inning — one that ended when shortstop Schneider snagged a line drive and tagged out Punxsy’s Adison Neal before he could get back to the second base bag for a double play.
“We fought and played hard for all eight innings, and excited to get a win no matter how we got it,” said Stiner. “We let some opportunities slip through our fingers, but came up with a couple clutch hits. Heath’s hit was real big because we had a couple situations prior to that where we just didn’t get a hit at all with runners in scoring position.
“That gave us some momentum going into the seventh inning, then Chandler came through in the eighth. No matter where that one was at, we were going to try to score there. With the wind blowing in and outfielders playing shallow, and the infield playing up the middle, you can’t get off the (second base) bag too far. You either take a shot or you don’t, and we did and it paid off.”
Even with a couple errors, Stiner was pleased with the team’s defense in the game along with the mound work of Starr, Krise and Ho.
“Our pitching was very good today,” he said. “We hadn’t had a starter get past three innings this year, so for Garrett to give us five is all we could ask for. Jeremy came in and kept the game where it was at, then Chandler did a nice job the last two innings to hold it. We got out of some jams and made some nice plays defensively today.”
Punxsy jumped on the board first with a run in the top of the first against Starr.
Greenblatt got things rolling with a one-out walk, then Byers dropped a single into left-center field. After Starr got Derek Huey to pop up to short, Dylan Ishman singled to right to plate Greenblatt on another close play at the plate.
Starr settled in from there and kept the Chucks off the board in the second through fourth innings. Schneider helped out his pitcher with a nice leaping, backhanded snag of a line drive to end the third with a pair of runners on.
Punxsy’s defense also came up with a huge play in the bottom of the second when center fielder Byers threw out Schneider at home on a single by Husted to end the inning.
The Chucks defense wasn’t so fortunate in the third.
Means led off the inning with a walk and was bunted to second by Bauman. Ho followed with a single to right field. Stiner initially held Means at third but sent the Beaver home when the right fielder bobbled the ball. Ho wound up at second but DuBois only got the one run to even the score at 1-1.
Greenblatt worked around a two-out double by Mowrey in the fourth before his teammates got him the lead with the two unearned runs in the fifth.
Greenblatt also wound up with a no-decision as a result of the Beavers’ comeback.
DuBois is right back at it today at Showers Field against Bradford.