Williamsport offense pours it on in league victory

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport’s Brayton Rowello dives base to second base as Punxsutawney shortstop Brandon Matthews fields the throw in the second inning of Thursday’s game at Logue Field.

Williamsport’s offense came alive almost as fast as the pregame downpour which soaked Logue Field prior to Thursday’s baseball game. All it took the Millionaires was three pitches to get rolling in the first inning.

Quentin Brown hit a shallow single to right, Tanner Esposito reached on a bunt single and Brayton Rowello drilled a double to the left-field fence to score a pair of runs.

All of a sudden, Punxsutawney was in a hole it couldn’t climb out of, and the Millionaires kept hitting with ease.

Williamsport built a five-run, first-inning lead and kept the runs coming en route to a 14-3 rout over Central Penn League rival Punxsutawney.

Williamsport opened that bottom of the first inning with five consecutive hits, the last of which was a tide-turning home run over the center field fence to put Williamsport ahead, 5-0.

All nine Millionaire hitters had a plate appearance in the first inning. Six collected hits.

“I think in any situation it’s helpful, especially for a pitcher,” Williamsport coach Kyle Schneider said. “I like to think how pitcher’s are feeling and when you have something like that happen when you’re on the bump, that just takes your confidence through the roof when you know you have a team behind you, and that allows pitchers like Kyle (Caringi) to do what they did today, throw strikes and trust his defense.”

In the second inning, Punxsutawney changed pitchers, but the end result was the same. Williamsport added another five runs — three off the Chucks’ relief pitcher — on four hits, one of which was a crushing three-run home run to left field by Cody Shimp.

Williamsport collected 13 hits yesterday as Brown (home run, two RBIs, three runs), Tanner Esposito (double, two runs), Brayton Rowello (double, two RBIs, two runs), Ethen Stryker and Ryan Jolin all had two hits. Williamsport also hit three home runs and three doubles.

“Since we came home we’ve been hitting the ball really well every game and hitting for more power,” Brown said.

“It comes down to they’re practicing well, they’re focused at practice and come here and they’re focused here, too, and they see the connection between practice and game,” Schneider said. “They’re having a lot of fun together and that’s a big part of it. They’re enjoying being together with each other all the time and that transitions right onto the ball field. It’s awesome to watch.”

Punxsutawney struggled offensively as the Chucks had just five hits and managed only one extra-base hit when Tyler Richardson doubled into left to lead off the top of the fifth.

Punxsutawney was hoping to rally that inning to keep the game going, loading the bases with back-to-back walks, but a strikeout ended the game.

The only inning the Chucks put up runs was the top of the third. Brandon Matthews hit a one-out single into shallow left which drove in Alec Greenblatt and Richardson. Matthews scored when Logan Johnston hit a single into shallow center.

But aside from that third inning, Punxsutawney struggled against Williamsport starter Carinigi through the first four innings. Caringi scattered four hits, all of which were singles.

“He’s a junior who has really shown some stuff this year. He has shown that when he faces a hit here or there or a little bit of adversity, he does amazing,” Schneider said. “He just pounds the zone and that’s all you can ask of a kid like that. He’s doing a great job for us.”

“Lot of confidence (in Caringi). Every time he’s on the mound, we know he’s throwing strikes,” Brown said of Caringi, who earned the win.

After building up a 10-0 lead in the first two innings, Williamsport scored another two runs to answer the Chucks’ three in the bottom of the third. After a walk and hit batter put two runners on, a sacrifice fly brought in Riley Hilner, and a fielder’s choice scored Brown to give Williamsport a 12-3 lead.

Brown’s two-run home run in the fourth inning helped put the 10-run rule into play entering the fifth inning. Brown has been having as good a year as you could hope for. He has an average above .600 and leads the area with five home runs.

“Quentin’s doing a great job. He is seeing the hard work he’s put in the offseason pay off and I think when he sees the production he’s putting out there and the production the rest of his team is putting out there, it just motivates him even more to work hard just as he is,” Schneider said. “Harder he works, better he plays, and it shows.”

Punxsutawney 003 00 –3 5 1

Williamsport 552 2 –14 13 1

Isaac Stouffer, Alec Greenblatt (2), Tyler Richardson (3) and Adison Neal. Kyle Caringi, Isaac Snyder (5) and Ryan Jolin. W–Caringi. L–Stouffer.

Top Punxsutawney hitters: Tyler Richardson 2-3, 2B, run; Brandon Matthews 1-3, 2 RBIs, run; Logan Johnston 2-2, RBI. Top Williamsport hitters: Quentin Brown 2-3, HR, SB, 2 RBIs, 3 runs; Tanner Esposito 2-3, 2B, 2 runs; Caleb Joy 1-1, 2B; Brayton Rowello 2-2, 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Ethen Stryker 2-3, RBI, run; Joe Fagnano, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Cody Shimp, HR, 3 RBIs, run; Ryan Jolin 2-3, run.

Records: Punxsutawney (6-5, 3-5 CPL), Williamsport (8-4, 6-0 CPL).