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Eagle baseball team ends up with no decision at Southern Huntingdon

Tyrone sophomore Donnie Hunter may go down on record as having the shortest junior varsity season in Tyrone history with more clutch hits like the one he delivered yesterday in Three Springs in the Golden Eagles’ season-opener against Southern Huntingdon.
The Eagles trailed 14-8 in the top of the fifth inning, literally minutes away from an 0-1 start as the early spring sun headed below the hills, guaranteeing a suspended-game loss. Tyrone had led 8-0 early before five errors opened the gate on three big innings that gave Southern a six-run cushion.
Tyrone rallied for three in the fifth to pull within 14-11, and with one out and the bases loaded sent to the plate Hunter – a player who was on the lineup card only because the Rockets hadn’t fielded a junior team themselves.
That he was facing a team that returned the core of its starting lineup from a season ago either didn’t register or didn’t faze the diminutive Hunter, who smoked reliever Jason Long’s 3-1 delivery into center field and over the head of Scott Everhart on a fortunate hop. Three runs came around to score, knotting the game at 14-14, and one batter later it was called for darkness.
The game will be completed later this season thanks in part to Hunter’s heroics, as well as the Eagles’ never-say-die attitude after blowing a huge lead.
“He hadn’t evened practiced (with the varsity team) this year,” said coach Bill Vigne, who filled in as manager in place of Tom Coleman, who missed the game for the birth of his second son. “You can’t say enough about a kid like that.”
It’s sure to say Hunter earned himself at least a couple more varsity looks this season before all is said and done, but the Eagles would most likely prefer it not to be in as critical a situation. The Eagles let Southern off the hook over the second, third and fourth innings with some expectedly shoddy early-season defense, but they rejuvenated their bats just in time.
“Anytime you get a big lead like that and then you lose it, but you come back, it shows resiliency,” said Vigne. “Despite all of the struggles today defensively, they battled and made it a tie game before it was called.”
Two errors in the second inning behind starter Tyler Gillmen – a missed grounder by first baseman Buddy Stotler and a misplayed single through the glove of left fielder Josh Clark – were the keys to a 5-run inning that pulled the Rockets to within 8-5. One inning later, shortstop Jamie Levinson booted one into left field while third baseman Matt Brooks committed a pair of errors as Southern took a 9-4 lead.
Gillmen gave way to Tyler Golden that same inning, and he was tagged for five more runs in the fourth, digging Tyrone a six-run hole with light slowly fading.
The Eagles had built their lead on the strength of the top of their batting order, led by lead-off hitter Justin Schopp, who went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and three runs in his first varsity start. Tyrone’s 2 through 5 hitters accounted for another eight runs and four hits, including a triple by Gillmen in the second and an RBI single by Stotler.
Almost lost in the mix was sophomore catcher Brock Anders, who from the 8-hole went 2-for-2 with a three-run double in the first inning.
“There’s a lot of fresh faces,” said Vigne of the Eagles’ underclassmen-dominated lineup, which yesterday employed only three seniors. “The positive of having a young team like that is these kids are getting experience every time they play.”
GAME NOTES: Hunter came on in a relief role an inning before his clutch hit to spell Golden. The first batter he faced – Jordan Yohn – rifled a three-run double into right center, but Hunter retired the side without allowing a run of his own … the Eagles belted five extra-base hits.
Tyrone 14, Southern Huntingdon 14 (5 innings, suspended: darkness)
TYRONE – Schopp, rf, 3-3-2; Golden, 2b-p-1b, 3-2-1; Mingle, cf, 3-3-0; Gillmen, p-2b-3b, 2-3-1; Stotler, 1b, 4-0-1; Hunter, p, 1-1-1; Levinson, ss, 4-1-2; Morrow, dh, 2-0-0; Brooks, 3b, 0-0-0; Anders, c, 2-0-2; Cunningham, cr, 0-1-0; Clark, lf, 2-1-1. TOTALS: 26-14-11.
SOUTHERN HUNTINGDON – Everhart, cf, 4-2-1; Baer, ss, 2-1-2; Yohn, p-1b, 2-0-1; Hoover, c, 3-0-0; Wertman, lf, 4-2-1; Thomas, 1b-3b, 2-3-2; J. Crull, rf, 2-3-1; Jones, 2b, 0-1-0; Cling, p, 2-0-0; Long, p, 0-0-0; Z. Crull, 3b, 2-2-1. TOTALS: 23-14-9.
TYRONE 530 06X X – 14-11-5
Southern Huntingdon 054 5XX X – 14-9-4
2B: Stotler, Anders, Hunter, Baer, Yohn, Thomas, Z. Crull.
3B: Gillmen, Clark.
RBI: Hunter (3), Anders (3), Schopp, Golden, Levinson, Clark, Mingle, Stotler.
E: Brooks 2, Levinson, Stotler, Clark, Jones 2, Wetman, Z. Crull.
K: Gillmen 2, Golden 1, Yohn 2, Cling 3.
BB: Gilmen 2, Golden 4, Yohn 2, Cling 4, Long 1.