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Levinson mound effort wasted in Eagles one-run loss to Juniata Valley Hornets

Tyrone pitcher Jamie Levinson probably deserved better yesterday against Juniata Valley in his second start of the season.
The junior put together the best start the Eagles’ pitching staff had seen this season – a performance that a week ago when Tyrone was scoring 10 runs at a clip would have easily been enough for a victory – but he was outdueled by the Hornets’ Nate Burkey in a 3-2 loss at the Harry K. Sickler Athletic Complex.
Levinson went the distance, allowing only one earned run on six hits while walking two, but his performance was overshadowed by Burkey, who struck out eight and likewise surrendered one earned run.
It was the Eagles’ second straight loss, dropping the team to 4-5.
“Jamie was very effective today, but we couldn’t capitalize offensively,” said Tyrone manager Tom Coleman. “Then we had some defensive breakdowns that cost us.”
The most costly mistakes came in the top of the seventh inning, when Valley plated an unearned run to break a 2-2 tie, but Coleman couldn’t place blame for the critical error that resulted in the Hornets’ score.
Sophomore catcher Brock Anders, who had caught every inning of every game, was injured in a collision at the plate in the third inning, forcing first baseman Buddy Stotler, who had never caught in a varsity game, to take over behind the plate. The hefty senior played well, but his throwing error on a Johnny Boyd sacrifice attempt allowed Burkey to score all the way from second base.
“Buddy really stepped up for the team,” Coleman said. “He had never caught for us before, and that showed the kind of player he is.”
Neither team hit the ball particularly hard. In fact, it was the first game Tyrone had played this season without an extra-base hit, and both pitchers were a major reason for that. Of Valley’s 21 outs, 12 never went beyond the infield, while Tyrone continued its struggles against pitchers with effective breaking pitches.
Tyrone’s eight strikeouts increased the Eagles’ total to 61 for the season, an average of almost seven a game.
“We weren’t very disciplined at the plate,” Coleman said. “We took a lot of first pitch fast balls for strikes and swung at balls in the dirt.”
Valley jumped to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Ethan Devore hit a bloop single to right that scored Ryan Walker from second with two outs.
Tyrone, meanwhile, fanned six times in the first five innings, but managed to put together a pair of runs in the fourth to take the lead. Tyler Gillmen led off with a pop up to right that was dropped by Devore, stole second, and was driven in on a single by Levinson. Levinson would later score on an RBI single to right by Doug Morrow, giving Tyrone a 2-1 edge.
The Eagles only other threat came in the sixth inning when Mike Moore, on with a fielder’s choice, made it to third. With Morrow on first thanks to a Drew Peterson error at short, Tyrone tried to score at home on a delayed steal by Morrow. But Burkey never stopped his motion or stepped off the rubber, and Moore was tagged out at the plate on the delivery by catcher Tyler Hall.
The Hornets then tied the game in the top of the sixth when Hall scored on an RBI single by Joe Basil. The run was unearned because in his at-bat Hall had popped up beside home plate in foul territory, but Stotler, fielding his first fly ball in catcher’s gear, was unable to make the play.
“It was definitely a tough loss but we have to put it behind us,” said Coleman. “Anytime a game is that close you always have thoughts of what you could have done differently, but it’s over now and we have to get ready to play Friday.”
The Eagles face Bishop Guilfoyle in the first round of the Altoona Curve Classic at Blair County Ballpark at 1 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Tyrone is hitting just .236 in its last two games … Tyrone led BG 5-0 earlier this season in a game at Tyrone that was suspended after two innings because of rain … Eagle pitchers have gone the distance in three of the last four games.
Juniata Valley 3 Tyrone 2
JUNIATA VALLEY – Lightner, 2b, 4-0-1; Peterson, ss, 3-0-0; Hall, c, 3-1-2; Basil, cf, 3-0-1; Borst, 1b, 3-0-1; Walker, 3b, 3-1-0; Burkey, p, 2-0-1; Musser, cr, 0-1-0; Boyd, dh, 3-0-0; Smith, lf, 0-0-0; Devore, rf, 3-1-0. TOTALS: 27-3-6.
TYRONE – Schopp, cf, 4-0-1; Golden 2b, 3-0-0; Gillmen, ss, 3-1-1; Stotler, 1b-c, 3-0-0; Levinson, p, 3-1-2; Brooks, 3b, 2-0-0; Mingle, ph, 1-0-0; Hertzler, dh, 1-0-0; Moore, rf, 1-0-0; Anders, c, 0-0-0; Hunter, ph, 1-0-1; Morrow, 1b, 2-0-1; Clark, lf, 2-0-0. TOTALS: 26-2-6.
JUNIATA VALLEY 010 001 1 – 3-6-3
TYRONE 000 200 0 – 2-6-2
RBI: Morrow, Levinson, Devore, Basil
SB: Hall 2, Schopp, Gillmen
E: Stotler 2, Peterson, Walker, Devore
SO: Burkey 8
BB: Burkey 1, Levinson 2
WP: Burkey LP: Levinson