BROOKVILLE â€” The Kovacik Insurance Giants know all about big rallies.
They needed one to stay alive and beat Punxsutawney last week in the Indiana County Youth Legion semifinals.
Then they needed one after dropping the first game of the championship series at home.
They responded in a big way, beating regular-seasonÂ champion Brookville, 13-3 and 17-2, to take the championship series, two games to one, and earn a berth in the upcoming Western Regional tournament at Homer City.
The Blairsville entry and regular-season runner-up opens the regional tournament Saturday against Smethport, the Elk-McKean County champion, at 4 p.m. at First Commonwealth Bank Field. S.W. Jack, the host team from Indiana, plays Farmington, the Somerset County champion, at 7 p.m. In other games Northwest champion Millcreek plays West runner-up Uniontown, and Corry. The Northwest runner-up, plays Plum, the West champion.
Kovacik Insurance took control of the first game in the fifth inning, scoring five runs to stretch a 5-3 lead to 9-3. Kovacik tacked on four runs in the final inning.
Brayden Mickinac and Cole Stuchall each banged out three hits and drove in a run, Andrew Baker and Braden Staats each had a pair of hits and an RBI. Anthony Lasser and Cade Simmons drove in two runs apiece.
Brookville managed only four hits, all against Lasser, Kovacikâ€™s starter and winner. He pitched 5 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking four. Stuchall finished and registered strikeouts for three of his five outs.
In the second game, Kovacik took control early, scoring five runs in each of the second and third innings for a 10-0 lead. The Giants ended the game after scoring seven runs in the top of the fifth and holding Brookville scoreless in the bottom of the inning.
Staats pitched a four-hit complete game, stroked a couple hits and drove in three runs. Skirboll, Baker and Stuchall each had two of Kovacikâ€™s 11 hits. Skirboll drove in two runs, and Logan Platt, Mickinac, Baker, Lasser, Nick Reeping and Simmons each drove in one.
The regional tournament opens Saturday and continues through Wednesday, with the top three teams advancing to the state tournament, which is scheduled to play at Homer City on July 27 to 31. Walbeck Insurance, the Homer City entry, is the host team.