DuBOIS — Call them the Cardiac Kids.
For the second time in as many nights, the DuBois Senior League All-Star baseball team won in walk-off fashion — this time 8-7 against Loyalsock late Friday night — to punch their ticket to Sunday’s Pennsylvania State Tournament championship game at Stern Family Field.
The victory was even more dramatic than the team’s 6-5 come-from-behind win against Upper Moreland on Thursday. This time around it was DuBois that saw a late-game lead evaporate as Loyalsock scored three runs between the sixth and seventh innings to pull even at 6-6 and eventually force extra innings.
DuBois pulled that feat on Thursday, plating four runs in the final two innings to complete a comeback victory. The Section 1 champs kept Loyalsock from doing so Friday in a game that went deep into the night after starting late because of thunderstorms that pished back the second game of the day.
Ultimately, the game was decided in the ninth with the international tiebreaker rule (runner starts on second) in play.
Loyalsock scored an unearned run in the top the ninth against reliever Brock Smith when Kane Wright, who started the inning on a second base, came home on an error with one out.
Loyalsock would then put runners on via a fielder’s choice and second error, but Smith stranded runners on the corners with a strikeout as he earned his second victory in as many nights when DuBois won it in the bottom of the ninth.
DuBois wasted little time tying the game as Carter Hickman, who started on second, took third on a wild pitch and scored when Kaden Brezenski grounded out to shortstop. Brayden Fox followed with a single to left and was replaced by special pinch runner Davey Aughenbaugh.
That brought Aiden Snowberger to the plate. He worked a deep count, fouling off several pitches, before hitting a deep fly ball to right field with Aughenbaugh running. The right fielder tracked the ball down and was camped under it, which led to Aughenbaugh beginning to retreat to first as he got to second.
However, the ball popped out of the outfielder’s glove and Aughenbaugh had to quickly reverse course on the error. Third base coach Adam Fox waved Aughenbaugh around third and he dove head first into the home to score just ahead of the tag of catcher Logan Bastian to give DuBois a thrilling 8-7 victory.
Aughenbaugh scored that run at 12:36 a.m., setting off a wild celebration on the field. The run also gave he and his teammates a much needed day off at states as the undefeated team to advance to the state championship game, which is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.
“I can’t say enough about these kids. It’s a special group, and there are no ‘me’ guys on this team. It’s a team and they believe in it and accept their roles and they produce. I mean, they are always fighting for a spot like we’ve been preaching to them, and it’s great to see it.
“Davey probably has Bray by a step (speed-wise), and that one step counted there at the end. Snowy came up big with a full count there and put the barrel of the bat on the ball. He’s my son, and I’m very proud of him. The big thing is we got the ‘W’ and saved some arms for Sunday and are loaded (pitching-wise). That’s a game we certainly didn’t want to lose.”
Both teams got off to slow starts, with DuBois having the better scoring chances in the first two frame.
Loyalsock came up with a big defensive play in the first as it gunned down Kaden Clark at the plate after a fly ball was dropped in center field to keep it a scoreless game. Clark had reached on a walk and stole second. Loyalsock starter Gavin Rice then stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the second after Snowberger and Trey Winhard each singled with one out.
Loyalsock then broke through against DuBois starter Fox in the third, scoring three runs.
An error on third baseman Kaden Brezenski started the rally, with Rice and Bastian following with walks to load the bases with one out. Wright, who reached on the error, scored on a wild pitch before teammate Nick Laubach delivered a clutch two-out double to left to plate both Rice and Bastian to make it 3-0.
DuBois answered right back in the bottom of the third against a pair of pitchers.
Matt Pyne led off with a single off Rice, who was then removed presumably because of the pitch count rules to keep him eligible for other days in the tourney. Josh Bomboy came on in relief and promptly struck out Clark, but Hickman followed with a double to center to chase home Pyne.
After a flyout, Fox and Snowberger smacked back-to-back singles with two outs with each scoring a run to knot things at 3-3.
The inning seemed to breathe life back in DuBois, with Fox quickly striking out the side in order in the fourth.
A big moment in the game then happened prior to the bottom of the fourth. Loyalsock sent Bomboy back out to the mound after pinch-hitting for him in the top of the fourth. However, under Little League rules, a substitute who is pitching and then removed from the game, cannot re-enter the game to pitch after that.
DuBois’ coaching staff caught it and brought it to the attention of umpires, and Loyalsock was force to make unexpected pitching change. They brought in Wright to pitch, and DuBois promptly scored three runs off him to grab a 6-3 advantage.
Garrett Frantz was hit by a pitch to open the inning, then took third on a wild pitch after Tyler Chamberlin popped up an attempted sacrifuce bunt. DuBois picked up its teammate though, as Pyne and Clark each walked to load the bases before Hickman reached on error that scored both Frantz and Pyne.
Wright continued to struggle with his control and walked two more batters, with a free pass to Snowberger forcing home Hickman with DuBois’ sixth run.
“This game kind of started out kind of like the game yesterday (Thursday),” said Evan Snowberger. “The first two innings we were kind of sluggish a the plate, but that third inning we started to turn the corner again and started grinding some at-bats out. We went deep into some counts, and in that fourth inning I think just about every kid went full count ... huge, huge spots.”
Loyalsock then made another pitching change with Jacob Wilson coming on and striking out Wingard to leave the bases loaded. DuBois struggled to get anything going against Wilson from there, as he kept the Section 1 champs of the scoreboard in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
That allowed his team to battle back.
Loyalsock scored once in the sixth against Brezenski, who had relieved Fox in the fifth. Rylan Tillotson, who reached on an infield, later pulled off a double steal with Wilson and raced home from third to make it 6-4.
DuBois stranded a runner at third in the bottom of the sixth before Loyalsock pulled even in the seventh.
Rice got things started with a walk with one out, while Bastian singled. Alec Kulp followed with a single of his own to plate Rice and took second when the ball was bobbled in the outfield.
With runners at second and third, DuBois third baseman Clark came up with a big play when he fielded a grounder off the bat of Lauchbach and fired home to just get Bastian to mainatin a one-run lead at 6-5. However, Clark then bobbled a grounder hit by Tillotson which allowed Kulp to score the tying the run before Brezenski got a strikeout to end the inning.
DuBois went quietly in the bottom of the seventh as the game went to extra innings.
Wright drew a two-out walk in the eighth, and DuBois made a pitching change to Smith. The lefty promptly picked off Wright at first to end the inning without throwing a pitch.
Pyne singled with one out in the bottom of the eighth and got to third with two away. He was stranded there, thoughh, setting the stage for a thrilling ninth inning that decided the game.
Pyne, Hickman and Snowberger all had a pair of hits for DuBois, with Hickman and Snowberger each collecting two RBIs.
DuBOIS 8, LOYALSOCK 7, 9 innings
Score by Innings
Loyalsock 003 001 201 — 7
DuBois 003 300 002 — 8
* There was 1 out when game-winning run scored
Kane Wright ss-rf-p-lf 4200, Gavin Rice p-ss 3200, Logan Bastian c 3110, Alec Kulp rf-lf 5121, Nick Laubach 3b 5012, Rylan Tillotson 2b 5110, Jacob Wilson lf-p 2010, Josh Bomboy lf-p 0000, Colin Berger ph 1000, Chais Shief 1b 2000, Mark Roman ph 1000, Caleb Neidig 1b 1000, Braden Vincenzes cf 4000. Totals: 36-7-6-3.
Matt Pyne cf 4220, Kaden Clark rf-3b-rf 3010, Carter Hickman ss 4312, Kaden Brezenski 3b-p-3b 4001, Brayden Fox p-1b 5121, Davey Aughenbaugh spr 0100, Aiden Snowberger lf-2b 4022, Trey Wingard c 4010, Andrew Green 2b 2000, Garrett Frantz ph-2b 1100, Brock Smith p 0000, Tyler Chamberlin 1b-lf 4000. Totals: 35-8-9-6.
Errors: Loyalsock 2, DuBois 5. LOB: Loyalsock 8, DuBois 10. 2B: Laubach; Hickman. HBP: Frantz (by Wright). SB: Tillotson 2; Pyne 2, Clark, Fox, Snowberger, Frantz. CS: Clark (by Bastian).
Loyalsock: Gavin Rice-2+ IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO; Josh Bomboy-1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO; Kane Wright-2/3 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 0 SO, 1 HB; Jacob Wilson-5 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.
DuBois: Brayden Fox-4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO; Kaden Brezenski-3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO; Brock Smith-1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO.
Winning pitcher: Smith. Losing pitcher: Wilson.