Nick Fisher singled home C.J. Funk with the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning to keep the season going for the Bellefonte Little League team with a 5-4 victory over Huntingdon on Tuesday in a Section 4 11-12 elimination game.
Funk drew a walk to lead off the sixth, stole second and after a walk scored on Fisher’s single to center field for the dramatic win.
“This is a resiliant group,” Bellefonte manager Eric Funk said. “They keep fighting and figured out how to get it done.”
The dramatic win brought stark contrast to the team’s previous outings, beating Clearfield 18-0 in the District 5 final, beating Huntingdon 11-1 to open the tournament and falling 9-1 to Red Land on Sunday.
“They handed that (loss) pretty well,” Eric Funk said, noting the team had two at-bats left and Red Land’s starting pitcher out of the game when it was halted by rain and lightning. “It was a tough loss to take, but the kids knew we had more game in us.”
It sets up a rematch with Red Land, with Bellefonte needing to win twice to advance to the state tournament. The teams meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Belleville Sports Complex, with a possible second game Thursday.
“We have to beat them the next two nights,” Funk said. “Now that we’ve seen (Red Land’s starting left-handed pitcher), we can prepare for him a little bit. You always do good after you’ve seen someone and know how to prepare for them.”
Bellefonte got its first three runs in the first inning with only one hit — a leadoff single by C.J. Funk. Two walks loaded the bases, then Fisher was walked to bring in a run, and Ben MacAfee was hit by a pitch and Mason Gray was walked to plate two more scores.
After Huntingdon got one run back in the bottom of the first, it took the lead in the third on a two-run home run for Draven Zook and a solo shot by Isaac Snare.
Bellefonte tied it in the fifth when Gray walked and scored on an error on a Zane Thornburg grounder.
“We definitely didn’t hit the way we’ve been hitting,” Eric Funk said. “I’m not sure exactly why. The pitchers they threw, we got a lot of walks, but they were trying to stay away from our better hitters, for sure. They struggled with their control, but we dropped some bunts down and played more of a ‘small ball’ kind of game. We like to take some big cuts, but based on the pitching and circumstances, we had to play the other game.”