Levinson stops Eagles skid with solid effort against Warriors

Entering yesterday’s game against West Branch, Tyrone’s baseball team had lost three straight in seemingly every way imaginable. If it wasn’t errors, it was walks. If it wasn’t walks, it was a lack of hitting. And sometimes it was just pure dumb luck.
Senior right-hander Jamie Levinson had a cure for most of those ills when he took the bump against the Warriors, and the rest he left to his teammates, who slammed 10 hits in a 6-3 victory at the Harry K. Sickler Athletic Complex that kept the Eagles’ slim hopes of making the District 6-AA playoffs alive at least for the weekend.
Levinson earned his second complete-game victory of the season, allowing only two earned runs on five hits to improve to 2-0 with one save. He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and pitched his way out of a tight spot in the seventh.
Levinson also received a lot of help from his defense which, despite three errors, came through with enough Web Gem-type plays to keep him confident about staying near the strike zone.
“Jamie pitched with his guts today,” said Tyrone manager Tom Coleman. “He gave us seven innings, which is something we really needed. We’re pretty banged up and we didn’t really have anybody to turn to.”
At the heart of Tyrone’s order, Johnny Shaffer, Tyler Golden and Tyler Gillmen came through with four hits, including a first inning bomb over the fence in right-center by Shaffer that gave the power-hitting sophomore three home runs this week. But the catalyst for the Eagles’ offense was junior Matt Brooks, who out of the eight-hole went 3-for-3 with an RBI, a stolen base and one run, allowing Tyrone to turn over its lineup and get its big boppers to the plate.
“Brooksy had a good day and the plate and we just hit the ball when we needed to,” Coleman said. “We eliminated the strike out and put the ball in play. Overall, it was a nice way to come together and end the week the way we started out (with a win over Mo Valley Monday).”
Justin Shive took the loss for the Warriors, allowing five earned runs and 10 hits in six innings while striking out three.
The win improved Tyrone’s record to 6-7 overall and 3-6 in Division 3 of the MAC. West Branch fell to 5-6 and 2-4.
Tyrone jumped on Shive early, with Shaffer blasting his home run on a first-pitch fastball in the first inning to make it 2-0. Golden and Gillmen then clicked for back-to-back singles putting runners on first and third for Levinson, who lifted a sacrifice fly to right field that plated Golden and gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
Tyrone added three more in the third, the first coming when Brooks singled sharply up the middle to score Gillmen. Courtesy runner Mike Romano came home two batters later on a wild pitch, and Randy Hoover knocked in Brooks with a groundout to short making it 6-0.
That was more than enough for Levinson, who was cruising by the fourth. In the fifth, Jesse Husted broke up the no-hit bid when he singled to left to lead off the inning, and he later scored when catcher Brock Anders threw a pickoff attempt at third into the outfield, making it 6-1.
The Warriors moved Ryan Wesesky to second with one out in the same inning, but shortstop Randy Hoover came through with two highlight reel catches – one on a bloop to center and one on a rope above his head off the bat of Chris Dotts – to end the threat.
The seventh inning began eerily similar to Tyrone’s 16-2 loss to Mount Union on Wednesday, when the Trojans scored 14 runs to open up a 2-2 tie, but two more defensive pearls shut down the Warriors’ two-run rally.
West Branch cut the lead to 6-2 and had runners on first and third with no outs when Brooks made a stab at a hot liner by Frank Norris and was able to cut down the lead runner at second. Husted scored on the play making it 6-3.
Then, with two outs and a man on first, Jon Demchak sent a rocket right back to Levinson, who was able to knock the ball down, regroup and throw on to first to end the game.
“(The game against Mount Union) is always in the back of your mind, but as a team we started making plays, and I felt confident,” said Coleman. “Brooks made a good play and we finished it. We played seven innings of baseball like it should be played.”
Tyrone plays Southern Huntingdon Monday at home in an attempt to get back to .500, although Coleman said the .500 mark is not essential in determining whether he will choose to enter his team into the playoffs.
“Let’s see how we play Monday,” he said. “Southern has, I think, only one or two losses. But they’re coming up here and our kids will be fresh, so we’ll see what happens. If we can build off this game and stay consistent, I would say yeah, give it a shot and see what can happen in the playoffs.”
WEST BRANCH – Meersand, lf, 4-0-0; Dotts, rf, 3-0-0; Demchak, 3b, 4-0-0; Gaines, ss, 3-0-0; Kolesar, 2b, 2-0-0; Lidgett, c, 2-1-1; Husted, cf, 3-2-2; Shive, p, 3-0-1; Beveridge, cr, 0-0-0; Norris, 1b, 3-0-1; Wesesky, pr, 0-0-0; Kanouff, pr, 0-0-0. TOTALS: 27-3-5.
TYRONE – Schopp, cf, 4-1-2; Moore, dh, 3-0-0; Hunter, rf, 0-0-0; Shaffer, 1b, 2-1-1; Golden, 2b, 3-1-1; Gillmen, lf, 3-1-2; Levinson, p, 2-0-1; Romano, cr, 0-1-0; Anders, c, 2-0-0; Brooks, 3b, 3-1-3; Hoover, ss, 2-0-0. TOTALS: 24-6-10.
WEST BRANCH 000 010 2 – 3-5-2
TYRONE 300 300 X – 6-10-3
HR: Shaffer
RBI: Shive, Norris, Shaffer 2, Brooks, Hoover, Levinson
SB: Gillmen, Romano, Brooks
K: Levinson 3, Shive 3
BB: Levinson 3, Shive 1
WP: Levinson LP: Shive