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Wilson will attempt to get Golden Eagles off to good D6 playoff start

Tyrone senior Clint Wilson will make the second playoff start of his career today at home against Westmont-Hilltop in the first round of the District 6-AA playoffs, and while his start is critical – it’s always important to win the first one in a single elimination tournament – the ultimate success of the Golden Eagles may be further down in the rotation than their reliable lefty.
Wilson, after all, has been a rock this season. At 5-2 with 45 strikeouts and a 2.95 ERA, few pitchers in the area have been as dominant. In fact, toss out his worst start, when he allowed seven earned runs in an 11-9 loss to West Branch in April, and Wilson’s ERA is a sparkling 2.10.
But Tyrone manager Tom Coleman – who last season led the Eagles to their first postseason victory in nearly a decade – has made the point on several occasions that the Eagles normally do field and hit well when Wilson is on the bump. They rally around him, and as a result have played their best baseball behind him.
But if Tyrone (11-6) does make it past the Hilltoppers (8-10) and into the second round and beyond, some extra arms will be essential, and if the Eagles can get some help from their second and third starters, along with their bullpen, a run in the playoffs is not unheard of.
Tyler Gillmen and Ben Gummo, both 2-2, have performed at extremes ends of the pitching spectrum. When they were good, they were very good: Gillmen struck out a team-high 10 in a win over Claysburg and Gummo flirted with a no-hitter against Bellwood-Antis.
But when they were off, things went south quickly. Against West Branch two weeks ago, Gillmen allowed seven runs in one inning. Five days later against B-A, Gummo allowed seven over the first two.
The one constant has been senior reliever Brandon Maceno, a tough right-hander who battles every time he takes the mound. He leads the team with a 0.84 ERA in 16 2/3 innings pitched and his last two appearances – cleaning up for Gillmen and Gummo – have been dominant, with only one earned run crossing the plate.
Whether Maceno ends up in a starting role before the playoffs are over remains to be seen, but he could easily hold the key to the stability of Tyrone’s rotation.
If that falls into place, the Eagles’ offense should provide enough pop to give Tyrone a shot against almost anyone. The Eagles average nine runs and 10 hits per game and have scored 10 or more runs in a game eight times.
Three starters boast a batting average over .400, led by Brice Mertiff’s .444, and the club’s .544 slugging percentage is bolstered by six players with a slugging average over .500. Wilson leads the way in that category with an .803 slugging average.
Wilson (23) and Derrick Soellner top seven players who have driven in 10 or more runs, and Brit Mingle leads the team with 12 extra base hits, including 11 doubles.
Only on rare occasions have Tyrone’s bats failed them, and each time it was against a dominant pitcher throwing his A-game.
DIAMOND NOTES: Wilson (.428) and Soellner (.404) are Tyrone’s other players batting over .400 … Wilson has thrown four consecutive complete games … Tyrone is outscoring its opponents 89-49 over the first three innings this season … Tyrone’s last playoff appearance was a 12-2 loss to Central last season … Tyrone’s last playoff win, an 8-7 victory over Westmont, also came last season in the first round.