With their backs against the wall, the Warren Boys Juniors all refused to give in.
Playing for the second time in as many days and now facing elimination, Warren exploded for six runs in the second inning and 11 more in the sixth en route to a wild 18-11 win over Punxsutawney, Wednesday, at Old Legion Field. Warren returns to action Friday against the winner of Thursday's Saint Marys vs. Cameron County contest.
Wednesday's game started on a sour note for the home team as Punxsy jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with a run in the first inning and two more in the second.
Times Observer photo by Ben Oviatt
Warren Boys Juniors all-star pitcher Colby Johnson fires a pitch toward home plate during an all-star elimination game with Punxsutawney, Wednesday, at Old Legion Field. Warren kept its season alive with an 18-11 victory.
Times Observer photo by Ben Oviatt
Warren Boys Juniors all-star third baseman Seth Baldensperger gets under a pop fly during Wednesday’s all-star game with Punxsutawney at Old Legion Field in North Warren. Warren remained alive in postseason play with an 18-11 victory and will next play on Friday.
Warren answered with the first of its two big innings, starting with a pair of singles from Colby Johnson and Adam Irwin. Nate Betts connected for double to score Johnson and Adam Barker singled home Irwin to cut the lead to one.
A sacrafice bunt from Braidy Blair tied the game at three and Warren took the lead when Drake Gens ripped an RBI single that brought in Barker. Connor Ristau continued the onslaught with a single to score a pair as Warren took a 6-3 lead.
Betts led off the bottom of the third with his second double of the day and crossed the plate when a groundball off the bat of Dominick Funari was mishandled by the Punxsutawney shortstop, giving Warren a four-run cushion after three.
Punxsutawney 120 043 1 - 11 10
Warren 061 00(11) x - 18 16
2b-Jacob Weaver (P), Jacob Tyger (P), Nate Betts (W) 2, Connor Ristau (W), Adam Irwin (W). WP-Seth Baldensperger. LP-Ian McConnell.
Punxsy mounted a comeback in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs to tie the game at 7-7. The visitors kept rolling with three more runs in the sixth and held a 10-7 lead before Warren stormed back with its 11-run outburst in the bottom half of the inning.
Gens drew a walk and Ristau doubled to start the inning before Seth Baldensperger brought Gens home with a hard hit grounder that found its way past a Punxsutawney infielder. Johnson singled home Ristau and pinch runner Evan Tremblay scored on a wild pitch to even the score at 10-10. Betts and Matt Leonard notched back-to-back RBI singles and Blair added another on a deep, run-scoring sacrifice fly
After turning the lineup over, Ristau kept the runs coming with another sac fly and two straight walks brought in Funari and loaded the bases with two outs. Irwin didn't waste the opportunity, clearing the bases with a double that dropped in between the left and center fielders.
Punxsy put up one run in the top of the seventh, but that was all Warren would allow as flyouts to left field and third base along with a grounder to short put the game away.
Johnson, Funari, Baldensperger and Gens all pitched for the winners. Baldensperger was credited with the win after working the sixth and Gens came in to shut the door in the seventh.
Offensively, Betts had four hits, Johnson three hits and Ristau and Irwin each drove in three runs on two hits for Warren.