Franklin’s Stellar Season Comes to an End with Playoff Loss to Punxsy

| June 10, 2022

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The PIAA state quarterfinals matchup between the Punxsutawney and Franklin baseball teams started out well for Franklin but ended better for Punxy.

(Photo: Star pitcher Luke Guth wasn’t eligible to pitch Thursday after shutting down South Park on Tuesday to get the Knights into the quarterfinals. Photo and article by Richard Sayer of Eight & 322.)

The Chucks topped the Knights 6-4 in a Class 3A matchup at Slippery Rock’s Jack Critchfield Park on Thursday.

Sophomore Zachary Boland pitched well despite giving up a leadoff walk to start the game. Boland pitched four solid innings, only giving up one run in the second. When he left the game Franklin was up 2-1 on a first inning RBI single by Noah Kockler scoring Caleb Doyle and fourth inning bases loaded shot by Doyle that scored Kyle Alexander. Drew Kockler was also sent home by coach Brian Schmidt but was picked off at the plate to end the inning.

Franklin had left the bases loaded in the third.

Kyle Alexander came into pitch in the 5th and looked solid, only giving up one single while striking out two and getting the final out on routine fly to center.

Franklin’s fifth started with walks to Carson Wible and Noah Kockler. They advanced on a wild pitch. Then, Kyle Alexander doubled, scoring two and putting the Knights up 4-1.

Alexander’s sixth inning didn’t go as well as the fifth. Two hard shots down the third base line resulted in a double and a single that scored a run. A couple batters later, the bases were full and Schmidt pulled Alexander and brought in Ethen Nightingale from left field.

A grounder to short seemed routine to get a force at second, but the ball was bobbled by the second baseman and no out was recorded. One more run scored before Nightingale got out of the inning with the Knights still up a run, 4-3.

The Knights went three up and three out in the bottom of the sixth.

In the top of the seventh, Punxsutawney got a single on a tough play for shortstop Luke Guth to handle and the runner beat out the throw. Then a hard single to left put two on. Nightingale then got the next two batters to fly out, but one runner advanced to third on the second fly ball.

Then a slow infield bouncer was fielded cleanly by Guth but the runner was able to beat the throw to first and the runner on third scored to tie the game. The next batter then got ahold of one and sent it over the centerfielder’s head to score two on a double and take the lead for the first time in the game.

Franklin started well in the bottom of the seventh with a double by Carson Wible, but the next three batters weren’t able to get him across the plate.

Franklin’s season comes to an end with a 15-8 record.

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