ALTOONA, Pa. – Punxsutawney went 1-1 at the Curve Classic Thursday at PNG Field in Altoona dropping the first contest, 11-8, to Hollidaysburg then rebounding in the consolation round to defeat Greater Latrobe, 11-2.
Rewatch both games
In the opener against Hollidaysburg, a six-run top of the first set the tone of the Tigers’ win.
Punxsutawney starter Jake Sikora allowed the first five batters to reach, and all five scored with the big hit being a bases-loaded, bases-clearing triple by Tucker Rossman.
The Chucks battled the entire game, including scoring three times in the seventh, but never were able to rebound from the early deficit.
Punxsutawney made it 6-2 with a pair of runs in the second only to see Hollidaysburg get one back in the third. The Chucks then closed the gap to 7-4 with two more in the third, but the Tigers answered with another run in the fourth to go up 8-4 before Punxsy got that run back in the bottom of the inning to make it 8-5.
Two runs in the sixth and a third run in the seventh, though, put the game out of reach despite some two-out lightning in the bottom of the inning by the Chucks.
Rossman finished with four RBIs while winning pitcher Matt Smith was 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, two runs scored, and an RBI. Landon Perry added a pair of RBIs going 2-for-5 with a run scored, and Joe Bukosky was 1-for-5 with a pair of runs scored. Ethan Karageanes also scored twice going 1-for-3 with a walk.
Justin Miller had a pair of RBIs for the Chucks going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Cooper Hallman was 3-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Josh Tyger also went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Smith pitched four innings allowing five runs, all earned, on eight hits and two walks while striking out three. Three Hollidaysburg relievers combined to allow three runs, all charged to Keagan Hockey, over the final three innings.
Sikora went 4 ⅓ innings allowing eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits, three walks, and two hit batters while striking out seven. Tyger pitched 2 ⅔ innings giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits and a hit batter while striking out two.
After the opening round loss, the Chucks had to turn around and play right away against Latrobe, which had lost its opener at 10 a.m. to Altoona in a marathon game.
Punxsutawney turned to freshman Nevin Day on the mound, and the youngster responded going six strong innings allowing two earned runs on four hits, a walk, and two hit batters.
Both runs scored in the second inning when Day said he struggled to find his changeup.
But after deciding to go mainly with a fastball and slider, Day retired 14 of the final 17 batters he faced.
Day also helped himself at the plate tying the game with a two-run triple in the third and then adding an RBI single during a nine-run fifth inning that broke the game open for the Chucks.
He finished the second game 2-for-4 with three RBIs and was named the Allegheny Grille of Foxburg Player of the Game.
Day talked about his performance and the win.
In the nine-run fifth, Punxsutawney sent 13 men to the plate and had eight hits.
Zeke Bennett started the rally drawing a pinch-hit walk and later added an RBI groundout in the frame.
Carter Savage broke the tie with a two-run triple to center, and Owen Wood also had an RBI base hit in the inning with Tyger adding a sac fly..
Tyger was 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Savage was 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, two runs scored, and two RBIs. Justin Miller also went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, while Peyton Hetrick was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Coy Martino pitched the seventh for the Chucks walking a man and striking out two.
Tyler Fazekas had the lone RBI for Latrobe, which also scored a run on a double steal.
Jake Lloyd took the loss going four-plus innings allowing eight runs, all earned, on 10 hits and two walks while striking out five.