Shaffer keys Golden Eagles to big win over Bellwood-Antis

It’s safe to say that Tyrone sophomore Johnny Shaffer is pretty well dialed in.
After breaking out last week with six hits in 14 at-bats, three home runs and 10 RBI in five games, Shaffer closed the books on the regular season yesterday against Bellwood-Antis by going 4-for-4 with a second inning home run and five RBI in the Golden Eagles’ 14-7 victory at the Harry K. Sickler Athletic Complex.
It was the first time Tyrone recorded back-to-back wins since opening the season 3-0, and it allowed the Eagles to finish 7-8 heading into the District 6-AA playoffs.
Shaffer’s day gave him a team-leading 21 RBI to go along with a .381 batting average heading into the postseason. Not bad for a kid who started the season 0-for-8. But he was only one of four Golden Eagles yesterday to belt at least two hits against B-A pitching, a far cry from the teams’ first match up on April 17 when the Eagles scraped together a measly four hits in a 9-4 loss.
“John Shaffer had a real nice game today,” said Tyrone manager Tom Coleman. “He has been our most consistent hitter all year. He’s in the three spot for a reason.”
Tyler Gillmen continued his late-season surge by going 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI, Jamie Levinson went 2-for-5 and Matt Brooks cracked hits No. 6 and 7 in the last three games, going 2-for-4.
All of those hits translated into runs, and by the third inning, starter Tyler Golden had 10 of them to work with, more than enough for the 6-foot-1 right-hander, who improved to 2-1. He went the distance and allowed five earned runs on 10 hits while striking out a season-high nine.
Justin Miller took the loss for the Blue Devils, working three innings and surrendering 10 runs, three earned, on six hits.
Miller also slammed a solo home run to center field to lead off the sixth inning – one of four extra-base hits for B-A. But the Blue Devils were never able to turn their extra-base power into the kind of big innings the Eagles had in the second and third, when they put back-to-back fours on the board.
“Both teams did much the same thing in the series. The first time we played them they made the errors, and today we turned around and we couldn’t field the ball,” said B-A manager Steve Conlon. “Give credit to their pitcher, he did a good job, but we couldn’t make the plays, let them get up on us and it’s a tough job to battle back.”
Tyrone managed its four-run second inning with only two hits. Doug Rudy led off with a walk and was eventually singled home by Mike Moore, who came around on a fielder’s choice. Donnie Hunter reached on an error by Nate Gray and was singled home by Levinson. Levinson then scored when Miller issued his second walk of the inning to Brooks with the bases loaded, making it 6-2.
It was 8-2 in the third after Gillmen doubled to right field to score Hunter. Shaffer came through with an RBI single to make it 9-2, and he later scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-2.
B-A got one back in the fourth on an RBI double by Nate Plummer, and made it 10-5 in the fifth when Josh Kleinfelter doubled home Gray and Brian Hostler.
It was 11-5 in the sixth when Miller cut the deficit to five with his bomb to center. Plummer would later score on an error by center fielder Mike Romano on the tail end of Gray’s third hit of the day to make it 11-7.
“We battled for a little while,” Conlon said. “I give their hitters credit. They came up with the bases loaded and were able to get a couple hits and extend the lead when we cut it close and we came up with the bases loaded and couldn’t get the hits. We are young, so I think that is kind of what you expect.”
But Tyrone scored three more in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Troy Mock. Brock Anders was hit by a pitch to lead the inning off and later scored on a Gillmen single. Shaffer then brought home two more with an RBI single to plate Gillmen and Hunter.
Nate Gray had three hits and Josh Kleinfelter belted a home run for Bellwood-Antis, who drop to 9-9 overall, and 4-5 in the division.
“I know Bellwood beat some good quality baseball clubs,” said Coleman. “The key was, I thought today our approaches at the plate were good – we worked the count and hit the strikes and we made a couple of plays defensively. Going against Bellwood, it’s always a good game, it’s always a rivalry game. We lost to them up there, they came down here and we returned the favor.”
Tyrone will now wait to learn its pairing in the first round of the playoffs. Carrying a sub-.500 record, there’s no doubt the Eagles will be matched with a quality opponent.
“I am very pleased. This is our second win in a row,” said Coleman. “We can just build from that. We have the first playoff round next Thursday, the first time having more than one practice outside. You want to be peaking right at the playoffs. I feel that we could possibly be in that situation. We will just have to find out in the first round.”
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Hostler, cf, 3-1-1; Gray, ss, 3-2-3; Kleinfelter, lf, 3-0-2; Coho, 1b-3b, 4-0-0; Ju. Manning, 2b, 2-0-1; Ja, Manning, rf, 0-0-0; Cameron, dh, 2-0-0; Albright, c, 2-0-0; Miller, p-rf, 4-2-1; Plummer, c-1b, 4-2-2; Mock, 3b-p, 3-0-0.‑ TOTALS: 32-7-10.
TYRONE – Gillmen, lf, 5-3-3; Levinson, ss, 5-1-2; Shaffer, 1b, 3-3-3; Golden, p, 4-0-0; Brooks, 3b, 4-0-2; Romano, cf, 1-0-0; Rudy, dh, 2-1-0; Anders, c, 0-2-0; Moore, 2b, 2-1-1; Hunter, rf, 4-3-1.‑ TOTALS: 30-14-12.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS 200 122 0 – 7-10-4
TYRONE‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 244 013 X – 14-12-3
2B: Hostler, Kleinfelter, Plummer, Gillmen
HR: Miller, Shaffer
RBI: Gray, Kleinfelter 3, Miller, Plummer, Gillmen 3, Levinson, Shaffer 5, Brooks 2, Anders, Moore
SB: Gillmen, Moore
K: Golden 9, Miller 2, Mock 1
BB: Golden 3, Miller 3, Mock
WP: Golden‑ LP: Miller