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PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – No matter how you slice it, Tuesday wasn’t Punxsutawney’s day.
The Chucks committed four errors in the second and third innings, including three in the 5-run Bedford third in what was ultimately an 8-1 loss in the Class 3A District 5-8-9 subregional final on Friday at Rich Kuntz Memorial Field.
“You know, it’s tough when we put on a performance like we did today,” said Punxsutawney coach Mike Dickey. “Six unearned. You can’t give (Jared) Dowey six unearned. We just didn’t play defense today, and that’s disappointing. But, we told the guys, we have a young core group here and they have to commit to the work in the offseason. This needs to motivate us because the bar is higher than that.”
The Chucks (10-10) actually struck first against Bedford starter David Gresh, as Isaac London and Zeke Bennett led the game off with back-to-back singles, and Josh Tyger drove in London with a sacrifice fly to right.
Tyger started the game on the mound for the Chucks and retired the side in the first thanks to a double play. The defense began to wobble in the second, however, as Mercury Swaim reached on an error and came around to score on Jesse Chamberlain’s RBI double. Tyger struck out the next three batters.
The Bisons (15-7) turned to their ace Dowey in the third, and the senior and Seton Hill commit was dominant. Counting Tuesday’s game, he has now struck out 129 batters in 63 ⅓ innings. Against the Chucks, he struck out 10 in his five innings of work.
“We had a couple of opportunities,” Dickey said, referencing a first and third, no-out situation in the fourth after Ashton Stronbraker was hit by a pitch and Dakota Long singled. “We can’t get a ball in to play, and that’s kind of where we need to get understanding scenarios. You can’t take third strikes with runners in scoring position. That’s a cardinal sin and we did that too many times today.”
In the Bedford half of the third, the Chucks committed three consecutive errors before Swaim cleared the bases with a triple against Tyger.
“Our starter deserved better,” Dickey said. “You saw what he could do in the first inning, mixing in the changeup and the curveball. That’s why he started today because he had the mix.”
Tyger gave way to Jake Sikora after the Swaim triple. Sikora pitched well, striking out nine in his five innings.
London had a pair of hits for the Chucks, while Tyger doubled.
“I told the guys there, that last year when we broke the huddle from what ended up being our last practice, I said ‘you know if this is taken away from you, you’re gonna know what you’re missing.’ And so I think our guys responded to being back out here (this season).”
Swaim, Chamberlain, and Ashden Koontz had two RBIs each for the Bisons.
Up next for Bedford is the loser of the D6 title game between Tyrone and Central (that game is Wednesday) in the first round of the PIAA playoffs on Monday.