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Big inning makes the difference again for Martin Oil in triumph over Tyrone Legion with six-run fifth

It seems every time Tyrone Legion and Martin Oil get together to play a George B. Kelley Federation baseball game the script is somehow very familiar. Both are young with little experience and few high school baseball, players. Tyrone Legion jumps out to a wide lead. Martin Oil comes back to rally to take the lead with a big inning. Tyrone legion tries to retake the lead, but falls just short.
For the second time this season, that scenario was played out on Thursday evening.
This time the game was played at Bellwood and some of the names were changed, but the result was the same-Martin Oil emerged with the 8-6 victory.
Tyrone Legion didn’t wait long to get on the scoreboard. After Martin Oil starter Chris Alley struckout the first two batters of the game, Justin Schopp singled up the middle. Derrick Soellner banged the first of three straight hits to move Schopp to second. Tyler Gillmen singled in Schopp for first blood.
In the third inning, Tyrone Legion tacked on another single tally. Again Alley retired the first two batters on Ks. Again Schopp singled, went to second on a wild pitch. Soellner hit a bad hop single that bounced sideways past Martin Oil second baseman Aaron Geis to drive in Schopp with the second run of the game.
Martin Oil got on the board in the bottom of the fourth to cut the advantage in half 2-1. Brandon Beech beat out an infield single and stole second base. Levinson retired Zach Tomchick on a groundout with Beech moving to third and then struck out Earnie Kelley. With two down, Brunner crashed a double off the 30-foot high fence in left field to plate Beech.
The Legion came right back in the top of the fifth to add to their lead. Levinson was safe on an error and Tyler Golden singled to center. Alley struck out Schopp, but Soellner made it three straight singles to score Levinson. Tyrone Legion capitalized on some wildness by Alley with Golden scoring on a wild pitch and Soellner moving all the way around to third base. Gillmen drilled a double to score Soellner and then Tyler Hoover singled between third and short to drive in Gillmen Alley recovered to fan the final two batters of the inning, but Tyrone Legion had upped their advantage to 6-1.
“Levinson was pitching great again,” explained Tyrone Legion manager Mike Boytim, “and then he just ran into that one tough inning and that is what has been happening all season. Jamie is just 16-years old and is already a really good pitcher. He will overcome that and by the time he is 18, be one of the best pitchers in the league.”
Levinson struck out seven and walked two in going the distance.
That one big inning came in the Martin Oil fifth, when the hosts sent 10 men to the plate and scored six times to take a 7-6 lead. Alley helped himself out by opening the frame with his team-best 10th double of the season. Chad Coho looped a single into right and Alley had to hold up at third to make sure it wasn’t caught. Dustin Harris drew a walk, one of only two in the game by either pitcher to load the bases. Pinch hitter Alex Miller got the scoring started by ripping a single to left to score Alley and Coho. Beech was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tomchick was safe on an error that scored Harris and Kelley grounded out to first to plate Miller. Brunner’s sacrifice fly scored Beech to tie the score. Levinson struck out Blaze Winterstein, but the ball was down in the dirt and went to the backstop to allow Tomchick to score with the go-ahead run.
“That hit by Alex Miller really was huge. That started the ball rolling and the rest of the team just kept the inning going,” said Martin Oil manager Ed Davis. “We didn’t have many hits tonight, we got outhit by Tyrone, but we got some clutch hits when we had to have them.”
With Martin Oil up a run 7-6, Tyrone Legion refused to back down. Jared Rodgers singled to right to open the inning. Both Levinson and Golden laid down perfectly-placed bunts and beat them out to loads the bases with nobody out.
After a trip to the mound by Martin oil pitching coach Tim Kovac, Alley hitched it up another gear. The Martin Oil right-hander, who fanned 13 and didn’t walk a batter, struck out Schopp and got Soellner and Gillmen on infield flies to quickly end the threat with the sacks still jammed.
“Bases loaded for Tyrone Legion in the top of the sixth with nobody out,” recounted Davis. “We told Chris (Alley), ‘this is where you got to make the pitches,’ and he did. He went out and we got out of the inning without any runs being scored. That was a real key part of the game. We had just come back and taken the lead and couldn’t afford to give up any runs at that point. Chris got some good defensive plays and pitched himself out of that jam.”
Martin Oil added an insurance score in the bottom of the sixth. Coho singled to lead off the frame and Brian Hostler walked with one gone. Beech hit into a fielder’s choice and when the try for a double play was wide to first, Coho raced home to increase the Martin Oil lead to 8-6.
Hoover singled to begin Tyrone Legion’s final chance and Alley hit Mike Romano with a pitch, but struck out the side to secure the win.
“What really hurt was the middle of our lineup was coming through at the beginning of the game and the top of it wasn’t, explained Boytim, “Then we got a big hit by Jared Rodgers and we got our two leadoff guys on with bunts and the middle of the lineup couldn’t bring them home when we loaded the bases in the sixth inning. I was really proud of our kids. We blew the lead again, but this time we came back and loaded the bases. We just couldn’t bring them home. At least we didn’t quit, that was a big improvement over the first time we played Bellwood.”
Tyrone Legion (7-9) travels to Juniata today to play McMullen Furniture (11-8), while Martin Oil (12-5), who matched their win total for 2004 with the win over Tyrone Legion, travels to Hollidaysburg Senior High School to play Locker Room (12-6). Both contests will start at 6 p.m.
Martin Oil 8 Tyrone Legion 6
Tyrone Legion – Levinson, p, 5-1-1; Golden, 1b, 4-1-2; Schopp, cf, 4-2-2; Soellner, c, 4-1-3; Gillmen, ss, 4-1-2; Hoover, 1b, 4-0-2; Hertzler, 2b, 2-0-1; Morrissey, cr-2b, 1-0-0; Romano, lf, 1-0-0; Conrad, lf, 2-0-0; Rodgers, rf, 4-0-1. TOTALS 35-6-14.
Martin Oil – Beech, ss, 3-2-1; Tomchick, rf, 4-1-0; Kelley, cf, 3-0-0; Brunner, 1b, 2-0-1; Winterstein, c, 3-0-0; Alley, p, 3-1-1; Coho, 3b, 3-1-2; McDaniel, cr-pr, 0-1-0; Harris, lf, 2-1-0; Geis, 2b, 1-0-0; Miller, ph, 1-1-1; Hostler, cr-2b, 0-0-0. TOTALS 25-8-6.
Tyrone Legion 101 040 0 6-14-2.
Martin Oil 000 161 X 8-6-3.
2B: Gillmen, Brunner, Alley.
RBI: Soellner 2, Gillmen 2, Hoover, Brunner 2, Miller 2, Tomchick, Kelley.
SO: Levinson 7, Alley 13.
BB: Levinson 2.
WP: Alley LP: Levinson