From start to finish: Chucks reclaim District 9 title

Staff Writer

The Punxsutawney Chucks baseball team has earned the District 9 AAAA championship and earned a berth in the PIAA State Championships tournament. The Chucks did so by defeating Clearfield 5-3 in the AAAA championship game on Wednesday at Showers Field in DuBois.

Asked what it was like to hand the D-9 championship plaque to this group of players, Punxsy head coach Mike Dickey said, "It's an incredible feeling. This is a team that nobody expected this out of, and I told them in the huddle that of the seven that I've gotten, that might have been the sweetest one, just because nobody expected it. They just never stopped believing."

The Chucks scored a pair of runs against the Clearfield Bison in its first trip to the plate to take the lead, and the Chucks would go on to lead the game start-to-finish. On the mound, the Chucks also got a start-to-finish performance out of starting pitcher Alec Greenblatt, who was efficient and effective on the hill in pitching a complete game to earn the victory. And with the 5-3 win, the Chucks reclaimed the title of District 9 champions and made sure that their season wasn't yet finished.

Punxsy turned a pair of singles, a walk and a Bison error into a pair of first-inning runs, then scored two more in the second inning on a hit batsman, a fielder's choice with no out recorded, a productive out and a heads-up bunt single by Daren Byers to take a 4-0 lead. Then, after the Bison scored the next three runs — two in the third and one in the fifth (all unearned) — the Chucks saw Dylan Ishman and Andrew Britton belt back-to-back doubles to add an insurance run that would prove to be some important cushion in the final inning.

The Chucks' offense made the most of its six hits, with Ishman and Britton having the team's two doubles — and only extra-base hits — while Neal, Greenblatt, Byers and Long all singled once. Britton finished with a pair of RBIs, with Long, Greenblatt and Byers each adding one.