DuBOIS — DuBois will be represented at the Pennsylvania Senior League State Baseball Championship for just the second time since the event was moved to Showers Field in 2014 after being played in Emporium for more than three decades.
The hometown Senior League All-Stars punched their ticket to states with a come-from-behind 9-5 victory against Titusville Friday evening at Stern Family Field at DuBois City Park to sweep the Best-of-3 Section 1 Tournament championship series. DuBois won the opening game, 6-1, Thursday night.
Things didn’t come as easy for DuBois Friday though, as Titusville jumped out to an quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first. DuBois promptly countered with three runs in the bottom half of the first, only to see Titusville regain the lead at 5-3 with a pair of runs in the fourth.
DuBois finally found its groove at the plate in the bottom of the fourth and pushed six runs across over the next three innings to rally for the four-run victory to capture its second straight trip to the state tournament. Several of the team’s 16-year-olds were members of last year’s squad that became the first DuBois team to reach states with it being held at Showers Field.
DuBois opens state play Wednesday at 8 p.m. against the Section 8 champion. The game is scheduled to be the fourth of the day in the eight-team tourney.
“It’s nice to win this and reach states here in DuBois,” said DuBois manager Rich Petrillo. “I hope we get a lot of fans over there. I know the kids are looking forward to it.
DuBois seized control of the sectional tournament with its convincing 6-1 win Thursday, but Titusville showed up ready to play Friday and scored three early runs off DuBois starter Nick Farrell.
The District 1 champs loaded the bases with no outs in the first on a pair of walks and a catcher’s interference call. Guy Anthony, who missed the opener, then ripped a two-run single to right.
Farrell followed with a strikeout of Mike Obert, but a single by Wyatt Caryl scored a third run while putting runners on the corners with one out.
That’s when DuBois came up with a huge defensive play to halt Titusville’s early momentum.
Danny Jones hit a popup on the infield, and third baseman Tyler Newell hustled in to make the catch on the run above a sliding Farrell. Newell then fired to first to double-off Caryl, who was running on the pitch, for an inning-ending double play.
Newell’s play seemed to breathe some life into DuBois, which promptly tied the game with three runs of its own in the bottom of the inning.
Chandler Ho drew a leadoff walk, then stole second before scoring on a one-out infield single by Gauge Gulvas. Keith Fatula then drew a walk off Titusville starter Caryl, who followed with a strikeout of Newell. However, a failed pickoff attempt by Caryl put both runners on scoring position for Farrell, who ripped a two-out double to left to plate both runners to knot things at 3-3.
Titusville threatened again in the second, loading the bases on three walks around a pair of outs. Farrell got of the jam though when Anthony hit a grounder to Newell, who raced to the bag at third for a forceout to end the inning.
DuBois wasn’t so lucky in the third though.
Mike Obert starting things with a leadoff walk, which spelled the end for Farrell.
Karson Fields came on in relief and allowed a single to Caryl, then a two-run double to Josh Daum two batters later that put Titusville up 5-3. After striking out Kaden Wolfkiel for the second out, Bryce Byers smacked a single to center.
DuBois again came up with a key defensive play on the hit, as Chandler Ho hit cutoff man Cullen Corle, who fired a relay throw home to catcher Dayne Bauman to nail Daum trying to score to end the inning.
Fields settled in after that play, allowing just two base runners — on a two-out error in the fourth and two-out single by Daum in the fifth — over the final four innings. Overall, Fields tossed five innings to get the win. He allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out three and walking none.
His strong relief performance allowed DuBois to battle its way back into the game.
DuBois tied the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth before taking its first lead with three more runs in the fifth.
Farrell led off the fourth with a single and later scored on a clutch two-out double by Bauman, who took third on a wild pitch before Ho drew a walk. Caryl then tried to pick off Bauman at third, but Ho took off for second — reaching safely as Bauman sprinted home on a throw to second to make it 5-5.
DuBois went on top in the fifth, as a leadoff double by Gulvas, a pair of walks and two Titusville errors led to three runs and an 8-5 advantage.
DuBois tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Ho belted a leadoff double before scoring on an error to set the final.
Gulvas led the DuBois offense, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a RBIs. Farrell and Ho each had two hits, including a double, with Farrell knocking in a pair of runs.
“I think we were a little overconfident (after winning opener) to start,” said Petrillo. “Our first pitcher really wasn’t throwing strikes, so we put Karson in there and he did a heck of a job. He kept them offstride with a really nice curveball. It took them (Titusville) to even get the ball out of the infield.
“Then we got some big hits when we needed them there late in the game. We have a well-balanced team and have a lot of pitching. Garrett Starr (who missed sectionals) should be back next week too, which will help us even more.”