Big seventh inning sends Golden Eagles to defeat in opener

Losing yesterday’s home opener to Huntingdon by allowing six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning was painful for the Tyrone Golden Eagles.
It was also just one loss – one loss that the Eagles played well enough to win for six-and-a-third innings.
That’s why coach Tom Coleman was able to remain upbeat in the wake of a defeat that – in the final analysis – will simply be a one-run defeat.
Huntingdon won 6-5 in a game played at Juniata College in Huntingdon, after rallying from a 5-0 deficit with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. But despite failing to protect a lead, Tyrone showed it has the tools necessary to win more games like yesterday’s than it loses.
“Overall, I’m pleased,” said Coleman. “We definitely let one get away, but we played solid defense, our bats came around late and Nick Friling did a tremendous job.”
Into the seventh inning, Friling completely frustrated the ‘Cats. He finished the game with a no decision after allowing just three hits, walking three, striking out one and allowing two runs. He took a shutout and a 5-run lead into the last frame, but lasted only three batters.
“He tired a little bit late and he had thrown a lot of pitches,” said Coleman. “With a 5-0 lead, you hope you protect it.”
Friling was pulled with a runner on first and one out and was replaced by Max Soellner. He walked three batters, threw one wild pitch, and was tagged by Geoff Kozak for a single to right-center that scored Brad Clark and Brian Linn and pulled Huntingdon within 5-4.
Tyler Mertiff came on one batter later. His attempted pick-off move to first went out of play, allowing Kozak to score tying the game, and three walks later Matt Perotti singled to right with the bases loaded to plate Jarrod Smith for the game-winner.
“I think what you saw was a result of practicing inside for a long time,” said Huntingdon manager Tom Gibonney. “The starting pitchers were ahead of where the batters were, and some relievers couldn’t get the ball over the plate, although we did get some big hits.”
Mertiff (0-1) took the loss, while Dusty Border was the winner, despite facing just one batter in the top of the seventh. Tyson Simpson started for Huntingdon and went six strong innings, striking out seven and walking just one.
Matt Young relieved Simpson in the seventh with Tyrone holding a 1-0 lead and surrendered four runs on four hits.
Clint Wilson, who went 2-for-3 as a designated hitter, began the rally with a single to right. A throwing error on Derrick Soellner’s attempted sacrifice put runners on first and second and a Nick Cushion bunt loaded the bases.
Mertiff then drilled a two-run single to center, giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead. Max Soellner followed two outs later with an RBI single to right, followed by an RBI single to center by Ben Gummo.
It seemed like an insurmountable lead considering the ‘Cats had just one runner make it past second base over the first six innings. But Huntingdon’s 7, 8, and 9 hitters, which had gone 0-for-6 over through the sixth, went 1-for-1 with 2 walks and three runs to start the seventh, allowing the ‘Cats to turn over their lineup when they needed it most.
“Huntingdon never gave up,” said Coleman. “They played hard all seven innings. We’ve just got to regroup and come back strong against Bellwood-Antis on Thursday.”
GAME NOTES: Mertiff finished 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, a stolen base and five put outs in center field….Max Soellner turned in the defensive play of the game in the fourth when he snagged a low-liner tailing towards the foul line in right and threw to third base to cut down a tagging Jon Riley by 10 feet….Tyrone committed just one error….both teams stranded five base runners….Tyrone hosts B-A Thursday at 4 p.m.
Huntingdon 6, Tyrone 5
TYRONE – T. Mertiff, cf-p, 4-1-2; Maceno, 2b, 4-0-0; B. Mertiff, ss, 4-0-1; M. Soellner, rf-p, 3-0-1; Be. Gummo, 3b, 4-0-1; Ba. Gummo, lf, 4-0-0; Friling, p, 0-0-0; C. Wilson, dh, 3-1-2; J. Wilson, cr, 0-1-0; D. Soellner, c, 3-0-1; Mingle, cr, 0-1-0; Cushion, 1b, 3-1-1. TOTALS: 32-5-9
HUNTINGDON – Kozak, ss, 4-1-1; Smith, 3B, 2-1-0; Walewski, c, 3-0-2; Simpson, p, 0-0-0; Stanowski, dh, 3-0-0; Perotti, 1b, 4-0-2; Hall, rf, 1-1-1, McGraw, cr, 0-0-0, Johns, lf, 2-1-1; Clark, 2b, 2-1-0; Linn, cf, 2-1-0. TOTALS: 23-6-7
TYRONE 010 000 4 – 5-9-1
HUNTINGDON 000 000 6 – 6-7-3
2B: Hall
RBI: T. Mertiff (2), Be. Gummo, M.. Soellner, Kozak (2), Johns, Perotti
WP: Border
LP: T. Mertiff
SO: Simpson- 7, Border- 1, Friling- 1
BB: Simpson- 1, M. Soellner- 2, Friling- 3, T. Mertiff- 3