D9and10Sports/Yourdailylocal is counting down what we believe are the Top 25 moments/games/performances of the 2021-22 high school sports season in District 9 and District 10. The countdown is powered by Hunter’s Station Golf Course just outside of Tionesta
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – A season that at one point was at a crossroads turned into a ride for the ages for Punxsutawney baseball.
The Chucks were 6-5 after a loss to St. Marys on April 27. They didn’t lose again until a 6-5 decision to Central in the PIAA Class 3A semifinals.
During their playoff run, they got clutch hitting and timely hitting, showing the heart of a champion.
First, it was a 2-0 eight-inning win over Bedford in a Class 5-8-9 subregional game. In that contest, Jake Sikora tossed seven shutout innings and the Chucks scored two runs in the eighth on an error and a Josh Tyger RBI double. Zeke Bennett came on in the bottom of the eighth to earn the save.
The Chucks dominated Penns Valley, 8-2 in the PIAA first round with a five-run fourth inning. Sikora once again got the win, going five innings and giving up one run.
The quarterfinals saw the Chucks rally from a 4-1 deficit to beat Franklin, 6-4. Down to their final out, Punxsutawney scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. Trailing 4-3 with two down, Josh Tyger hit a chopper to short. Franklin’s Luke Guth fielded the ball cleanly and fired a strike to first, but Tyger narrowly beat the play, bringing in Isaac London (who singled to start the inning) with the game-tying run.
Ashton Stonbraker followed and laced Ethan Nightingale’s 1-1 pitch to deep center that brought in Peyton Hetrick (who singled), as well as Tyger.
That set up a showdown with an unbeaten Central team in the semifinals. The Chucks led 3-1, then trailed 6-3 and cut the margin to 6-5, but the Dragons were able to close it out.
With two outs in the sixth, Peyton Hetrick (who reached on a fielder’s choice) and courtesy runner Easton Gula (running for Sikora, who singled) scored on wild pitches by Boyles, a Radford commit who came on in relief of Helsel in the sixth, to cut the lead to 6-5.
And allow the Chucks weren’t able to complete the comeback in that one, it nevertheless was a season for the ages.