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BROCKWAY - The Punxsutawney Chucks handed the St. Marys Area Lady Dutch a 6-4 setback on Wednesday in the District 9-AAA championship game held at the Brockway Area High School softball field.
St. Marys fell behind early in the game, then rallied to grab the lead by a single run, but Punxsutawney regained the momentum and lead to eventually win the game by a 6-4 margin.
"We were down early and battled back to take the lead, but we were unable to hold it," said St. Marys Area head coach Manny Gerarge. "I am really proud of the girls as they never gave up today, or all season long for that matter. We were down, came back and almost came back a second time.
"I am happy with the way the team played today, as we hit the ball pretty good. Crago is a really good pitcher, but our girls hit the ball hard today. Rachel pitched a good game for us today also, but it just wasn't in the books for us to win. Punxsy has a senior-laden team and they played well today.
"We have only one senior, Mandy Gerarge, so we will be back to battle for the District Title in 2012. Overall, it was a very good season, as the girls gave their all in every game."
Shawnna Crago was the winning pitcher for the Lady Chucks on Wednesday as she gave up four runs on 10 hits while striking out six and issuing one walk.
Rachel Ginther was the losing pitcher as she gave up six runs on eight hits, struck out three and walked two.
Kali Quagliani was the leading hitter for the Lady Dutch with three singles. Erica Sorg and Rachel Ginther each checked in with two singles, while Hayley McGowan, Taylor Bellina and Raelyn Cunningham each had one single.
Crago and Reitz led the Punxsy squad in hitting with two hits each, while Barenchik, Powell, Davis and Shields each had one hit.
The Lady Dutch had a base runner in the first inning as Quagliani singled, but they were unable to score. In the bottom half of the inning the Lady Chucks scored twice when Barenchik walked, moved to second on a sacrifice fly and scored on a triple by Crago, who then scored when Reitz singled to make it 2-0.
St. Marys cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the second when Gerarge walked, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Krivonyak and scored on a single by Bellina. Punxsy went down in order in their half of the second.
In the top of the third, the Lady Dutch scored two more runs when Sorg and Quagliani hit back-to-back singles, then both scored on back-to-back singles by Ginther and McGowan. Crago then managed to retire the next three batters on strikeouts to end the Dutch threat as St. Marys went up 3-2.
The bottom half of the third found the Lady Chuck also putting together a rally as they managed to push across four runs to regain the lead. Barenchik reached first on an error but was forced at second on a fielder's choice by Neal. Powell and Crago both singled to load the bases. Reitz then hit a double, scoring all three runners. Reitz came home on a single by Davis, who was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double. This made the score 6-3.
Neither team was able to produce any runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but in the seventh the Lady Dutch managed to score the final run of the game. After an out was recorded, Cunningham singled up the middle. She advanced to third on a single by Sorg and scored when Sorg was thrown out trying to steal second base. A ground out then ended the inning and the game with Punxsy in front 6 to 4.
St. Marys Area finished the season with an 15-5 record and finished second in the District 9-AAA tourney.
Playing in her final game for the Lady Dutch was senior Mandy Gerarge.
St. Marys Area 4
Erica Sorg 4-1-2, Kali Quagliani 4-1-3, Rachel Ginther 2-0-2, Harley McGowan 3-0-1, Mandy Gerarge 2-1-0, Savanah Krivonyak 2-0-0, Mia Keener 0-0-0, Casey Wonderling 3-0-0, Taylor Bellina 3-0-1, Raelyn Cunningham 3-1-1, Kelsey Fritz 0-0-0. Total 27-4-10.
Punxsutawney Area 6
Ashley Barenchik 3-1-1, Hannah Neal 3-1-0, Taylor Powell 3-1-1, Shawnna Crago 2-0-2, Alex McGill 0-2-0, Jenna Reitz 3-1-2, Johnna Depp 3-0-0, Tia Davis 3-0-1, Kristen Fedder 2-0-0, Hannah Glavedoni 1-0-0, Allie Shields 3-0-1. Totals 26-6-8.
Score by Innings
St. Marys 012 000 1 4
Punxsy 204 000 x 6