Hempfield East blanked in Region 7 Legion tournament opener
Hempfield East had a shorter ride to the Pennsylvania American Legion Region 7 tournament than any other team competing.
Unfortunately for the host team, however, its bats failed to make the trip.
Punxsutawney pitchers Isaac Stouffer and Alec Greenblatt limited Hempfield East to three hits in a 6-0 shutout on Friday in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament at Hempfield Area High School.
Stouffer, who pitched the first six innings, allowed singles by Andrew Rosenberg to open the bottom of the first inning and a bloop single to Reni Brasili in the second inning. Brasili had a two-out triple in the bottom of the seventh inning off Greenblatt.
“To me, we lost 1-0,” Hempfield East coach Harry Shamberger said. “Our pitching did well. We just didn’t hit the ball.
“We haven’t been able to put together a complete game. We either start well and level out or start slow and pick it up. We never got it going.”
Punxsutawney (14-2) had no problem getting it going. Tanner LaBenne singled home San Dunkle in the first inning, and Chase Palmer singled home Tyler Park off Hempfield East starter Shane Stuchell in the second inning.
The lead went to 4-0 in the fourth inning on a wild pitch and an RBI triple by Dunkle, and Punxsutawney tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, Hempfield East batters lacked patience at the plate as Stouffer induced 11 ground ball outs.
Stouffer worked out of a two-out bases-loaded jam in the second inning when he got Rosenberg to ground out. He retired 13 in a row before leaving the game.
“We were lethargic,” Shamberger said. “We didn’t seem prepared to play, and that’s on me.
“I still believe we have the pitching and the team to come back and win this tournament. We just have to show up.”
Hempfield East (23-5) will face Mifflin County in a loser’s bracket game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on the junior varsity field. Shamberger hopes the bats show up.