DuBOIS — DuBois was unable to solve a pair of Punxsutawney pitchers as it was held to just one hit in a 7-4 defeat in the first championship game of the District 10 tournament at Stern Family Field Tuesday.
DuBois would have captured the title with the win, as a Punxsy win no forces the ‘if-necessary’ game to determine the D-10 champion.
Punxsutawney has now won three straight elimination games after suffering a 7-5 loss to DuBois in the tourney opener July 3.
DuBois won the pre-game coin toss and elected to be the home team, as Punxsy jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first.
Donny Bender led off with a walk before Josh Tyger walked and Carter Savage singled to left-center to load the bases with nobody out.
Easton Gula then reached on a 6-4 fielder’s choice as Savage was forced out at second on the play while Bender came across to score the game’s first run.
After Savage retired the side in the bottom of the first, the Punxsy bats got back to work in the second, adding three runs to the lead.
The inning once again got started with a walk as Jake Sikora reached on a base on balls before Quinton Voelkel singled to left.
After DuBois starter Andrew Green recorded a strikeout for the first out of the frame, Bender reached on an infield single to short to score Sikora and bring the score to 2-0.
Tyger followed with a sacrifice fly to center to plate Voelkel before Savage continued to help his own cause by tripling to the left-field fence to bring home Bender and give Punxsy a four-run lead after an inning and a half.
DuBois was able to manufacture a run to begin cutting into the deficit in the bottom of the second.
Kaden Clark led off by drawing a walk before moving up to second on a throwing error on an attempted pick-off play at first.
Kaden Brezenski then grounded out to short to move Clark to third before Clark was able to score on a second groundout to short by Jordan Ell.
The game remained 4-1 into the fourth inning before Punxsutawney was able to tack on another run.
Cooper Hallman led off the inning by singling down the left-field line before advancing to second on a throwing error on a pick-off play.
Green quickly retried the next two batters by way of a strikeout and fly out to shallow center, as he looked to leave the runner stranded on second.
Savage followed by hitting a high fly ball to the middle of the infield, as the no DuBois players were able to make a play on the ball, allowing Punxsy to put runners on the corners with two away.
Gula then came through with his second RBI of the game, driving a single into center to score Hallman.
DuBois battled back in the home half of the fourth, taking advantage of some defensive mistakes by Punxsy to trim the deficit to one run.
Clark the inning off with DuBois’ lone hit of the day, as he beat out a throw from third for an infield single.
Brezenski and pinch-hitter Gavin Kaschalk then reached on back-to-back walks to load the bases with no outs in the inning.
Elijah Everett then hit a ground ball to short to score Clark as Punxsy attempted to force out Kaschalk at second on the play.
Instead, the throw sailed wide of the bag, allowing Brezenski to score the second run of the inning while Kaschalk moved up to second.
DuBois then attempted a double steal, as Everett was thrown out at second on the play, but Kaschalk was able to reach home safely to bring the score to 5-4 after four innings of play.
The home side was unable to muster up any offense from that point on, as it had just one base runner over the final three innings, which came in the seventh when Matthew Pyne drew a one-out walk before stealing second and eventually being stranded at third to end the game.
On the other side, Punxsutawney was able to add a pair of insurance runs in the late innings, scoring one run apiece in the sixth and seventh innings.
In the sixth, after the first two batters were retired Tyger kept the inning alive with a two-out single up the middle before stealing second and scoring on a single by Savage.
Savage finished the game 4-for-4 with a pair of RBIs while also picking up the win on the mound, going five innings and allowing four runs, three earned, on a hit and six walks while striking out two.
Punxsutawney added an unearned run in the seventh when Gage Gresock drew a lead-off walk and later scored on an error.
The teams will now meet in the winner-take-all championship game Thursday at Stern Family Field at 6 p.m.