When Punxsutawney and Philipsburg-Osceola squared off Monday, they were looking for a competitive game to prepare them for the looming district playoffs.
They got what they wanted.
After P-O jumped on starter Ali Ishman for five runs in the first inning, the Lady Chucks changed pitchers and the complexion of the game as they held the Lady Mounties scoreless over the final five innings behind freshman pitcher Kylie Lingenfelter. The end result was a 5-1 win for P-O, which finished its regular season and will be idle until Monday when it hosts the winner of the Westmont Hilltop-Bishop McCort first round game in a District 6 quarterfinal game. The Lady Mounties are the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Marion Center is the No. 1 seed. Both have first-round byes.
P-O roughed up Ishman for five hits in the first inning as Megan Bainey singled, McKenzie Burge doubled, Haylee Hayward singled, Abby Showers singled and Hannah Thompson delivered a two-run double to give P-O starter Maggie Peck a 5-0 lead.
“Hannah had a big hit there,” P-O coach Jim Gonder said. “When you get up by four or five runs, it allows the defense to play more comfortably.”
Lingenfelter allowed only three hits, walked one and struck out seven in relief of Ishman.
“I’m glad they didn’t start her,” Gonder said. “She threw hard and mixed her pitches. I told the girls we’ve got to be better hitting because we’re going to see pitching like that in the playoffs. Good pitching is what you want to see in a game like this.”
The P-O defense asserted itself in the first inning when it killed a Punxy rally. Nicole DiPietro opened the game with a double to right center. But shortstop, Showers, made a diving stop of Anna Horner’s soft liner and threw DiPietro out trying to take third. Then Lady Mountie catcher Kylie Thal picked Horner off first before Ivy Phillips doubled. But Morgan Adamson bounced out third to first to end the inning.
“Fortunately, we played the right defense,” Gonder said. “We got that out at third and then picked off the runner at first.”
Punxy scored its run off Peck in the sixth when Phillips doubled to left center and scored on a double by Adamson. Peck then struck out Alyssa Reitz before Sam Satterlee hit into a double play.
“Early on we hurt ourselves with our base running,” Punxy coach Alan Pifer said. “If you take away that first inning, it’s a different game. But we knew coming here that a Jim Gonder-coached team is going to hit. When you face them, they are going to hit. They proved that today. They are one of the best AA teams in the area and we wanted to play a team like that to get ready for the playoffs.
“Our first pitcher has a 1.00 ERA and she’s a sophomore. Then our freshman came in and did a great job shutting them down. Those two have been a good one-two punch for us this year.
“Their pitcher did a good job of keeping us off balance. We started to adjust but not in time to make a difference.”