|Down low Tyrone senior Donnie Hunter goes down low to line a single to center that scored Randy Hoover during the Eagles 15-12 loss at Central on Tuesday. (The Daily Herald/Bob Miller)|
Tyrone’s big rally yesterday against Central – the one where the Golden Eagles erupted for eight runs in an emotionally charged sixth inning to take a one-run lead after trailing 11-4 – wasn’t all that big a deal to the Scarlet Dragons.
The reason: Tyrone never really proved that it could slow down Central’s tactically efficient offense, which meant that as long as the Dragons had last taps, chances were good they could make up any lead Tyrone could build.
In fact, Central’s offense was so keen in getting runners on and setting the table for its power hitters, there’s every reason that the Dragons could still be on the diamond today scoring runs against the Eagles if they had to.
Central responded with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, retaking the lead on a two-RBI double by Jordan Saylor, and shut down the Eagles in the seventh for a 15-12 victory.
“We were up by a run and we had to hold them. We just couldn’t do it” said Tyrone manager Dustin Shoening. “It was fundamentals.”
Fundamentals were a problem for the Eagles most of the game. There were the gaffs that show up on a scorecard – Tyrone committed five errors – and those that don’t, but hurt nonetheless – the Eagles had a coupe base-running blunders that ultimately cost them runs and allowed three Central runners to reach base from plays that went down as fielder’s choice plays, although they resulted from infielders not covering a bag.
In a three-run game where you rallied from seven down, those are the plays that make the difference.
“We’re scoring runs, but it’s a matter of playing defense,” Shoening said.
Senior Randy Hoover was tagged with the loss, pitching 1 1/3 innings in relief of Johnny Shaffer. He allowed five runs, three of which were earned, on four hits. Shaffer started the game and pitched into the fifth inning, surrendering nine earned runs on eight hits, walking two and hitting three others.
Jordan Saylor got the win, coming on in the sixth to stop the tidal wave of momentum Tyrone had built against starter Jacob Russell (5 1/3 IP, 7 ER, 11 hits). Saylor allowed just one earned run and two hits.
Tyrone’s offense was as good as it’s been this season, slamming 13 hits and swiping three bases, while six different players drove in runs.
Sophomore Doug Rudy had the biggest hit of the game in the sixth inning. With the Eagles trailing 11-6, Rudy came up with the bases loaded and nobody out and delivered a towering triple to right field on the first pitch of his at-bat. That cleared the bases and made it 11-9.
Rudy scored moments later when Shaffer drove him home with a sacrifice fly to left, and Tyrone tied the game when Eric Loose scored on an error by Central third baseman Jon Ewart. Matt Brooks scored the go-ahead run off the bat of Eric Desch, who reached base safely on a fielder’s choice.
But the lead was short-lived. Central started its ensuing at-bat by getting its lead-off man aboard for the sixth straight time when Trent Forshey reached on a throwing error by Rudy. After the Dragons loaded the bases, Saylor served up his double to center that proved to be the game-winner.
The Dragons put on a clinic on manufacturing runs, moving runners into scoring position and setting up big innings. They bunted safely six times and stole four bases, twice bunting on consecutive at-bats.
“Those were perfectly placed bunts,” Shoening said. “Those weren’t just bunts back to the pitcher. That’s the kind of stuff we need to be doing.”
But Tyrone did its share of capitalizing on Central miscues and manufacturing runs. The top of the Eagles’ order combined for eight hits and five runs, with Aaron Cunningham (2 hits), Rudy (2 hits and 2 runs) and Shaffer (3 hits and 3 RBI) doing most of the damage.
CENTRAL 15 TYRONE 13
TYRONE – Cunningham, cf, 5-1-2; Hunter, lf-2b, 4-2-1; Rudy, ss, 5-2-2; Shaffer, p-2b-lf, 4-0-3; Anders, c, 4-0-1; Loose, cr, 0-2-0; Brooks, 3b, 3-1-0; Brush, rf, 4-1-1; Desch, 1b, 4-1-1; Hoover, 2b-p, 4-2-2. TOTALS:
CENTRAL – Ewart, 3b, 4-4-2; Nash, rf, 5-2-3; Saylor, ss-p, 3-2-1; Slagenweit, cf, 0-0-0; Ebersole, dh, 5-3-3; Simpson, 1b, 3-0-0; Neil, c, 4-0-1; D. Forshey, lf, 3-0-0; Walters, ph, 1-0-1; Hardy, lf, 0-0-0; Snowberger, 2b, 4-1-1; Russell, p, 2-0-1; T. Forshey, cr-ss, 1-3-0. TOTALS: 35-15-13.
TYRONE 102 108 0 – 12-13-5
CENTRAL 321 144 X – 15-13-5
E: Shaffer, Hunter, Rudy, Hoover, Brooks, Russell, Ewart (2), D. Forshey, Saylor
2B: Nash, Saylor
3B: Ebersole, Rudy
RBI: Hunter 2, Rudy 3, Shaffer 3, Brush, Desch 2, Hoover, Nash 2, Saylor 3, Ebersole 3, Simpson, Neil 2, D. Forshey.
SO: Shaffer 3, Russell 5.
BB: Shaffer 2, Hoover 2, Russell 2, Saylor 1.
WP: Saylor LP: Hoover