Thu. May 30th, 2024

Tyrone senior Tyler Golden had a brief message for sophomore Johnny Shaffer as he approached the batter’s box in the fourth inning yesterday at West Branch with the Eagles trailing 3-2.
“It’s time to grow up,” Golden said from the dugout.
No pressure for the sophomore slugger who up to that point had been mired in an 0-for-9 slump to start the season.
But if the comment did put any stress on Shaffer, it was hard to tell. On a one-one count, he clobbered a Jesse Husted fastball, sending it to the fence in right field for a stand-up double.
The at-bat may have been a case of Shaffer maturing on cue, but Tyrone’s entire team did a lot of growing up against the Warriors. The Eagles rallied three times, riding the hot bats of Shaffer, Golden and Tyler Gillmen, to post a 15-7 MAC Division III win.
Shaffer later scored as part of a three-run inning that had Tyrone ahead 5-3. The Warriors rallied in their half of the fourth to go ahead 7-5, but Shaffer wasn’t finished. He drove home one run in the fifth and plated three more in the seventh on his second double.
Shaffer was one of five Golden Eagles to collect at least two hits as Tyrone’s bats finally came untracked after an opening week where the Eagles were forced to sweat out a pair of low-scoring games. Golden went 4-for-5 with 4 RBI, Jamie Levinson rang up his first two hits of the season and scored twice, and Gillmen and Donnie Hunter both hit safely twice as part of a 14-hit barrage that, by the seventh inning, was a time bomb waiting to explode.
It was an inning that saw the Eagles send 15 batters to the plate, with seven contributing base hits.
And each run was like a premium life insurance policy considering West Branch’s never-say-die attitude early on. The Warriors scored all seven of their runs with two outs and often seemed at their best when the situation appeared at its worst.
Junior Randy Hoover was the winning pitcher, throwing the final three innings for his first victory of the season. He allowed just two hits and zero runs in relief of Golden, who struck out three and walked three through four, but was on the hook for the loss late thanks to a pair of errors that led to seven unearned runs.
Husted was tagged with the loss despite pitching six strong innings. He allowed 10 earned runs and struck out four.
Husted also drove in the Warriors’ first runs in the second inning, lining a 2-1 delivery into right field to bring in Frank Norris and Justin Shive and make it 2-0. The inning was kept alive when Levinson mishandled a grounder by Norris with two away.
After the Eagles scored two in the top of the third on RBIs from Golden and Gillmen, the Warriors added another unearned run in their half of the frame when Jon Demchak scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2.
But West Branch never went away, and by the bottom of the fourth the Warriors were up 7-5 after Keaton Gaines clobbered a first-pitch fastball from Golden, knocking it over the right field fence for a 3-run home run. The runs again came with two away, after third baseman Matt Brooks mishandled a grounder to keep the inning alive.
The Eagles would trail the rest of the way until the bottom of the seventh. Justin Schopp started the inning by drawing a lead-off walk, Golden and Gillmen loaded the bases with back-to-back singles, and Shaffer cleared them when he lined his second double into the gap in right center to boost the Eagles into the lead at 9-7.
Levinson made it 10-7 with his first RBI single of the season, and Golden picked up three more RBIs when he blasted another double of his own. Gillmen followed him with another run-scoring single.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hoover retired the first two batters on pop-ups after throwing just three pitches, but Demchak singled with two outs in what could have easily become a replay of earlier innings until Ethan Lidgett flew out to Aaron Cunningham in right to end the game.
It was just another sign of Tyrone’s growth spurt, apparent sometimes even within an individual game.
Tyrone travels to Claysburg today for another MAC divisional game.
Tyrone 15 West Branch 7
TYRONE – Schopp, cf, 3-3-1; Golden, p-3b, 5-3-4; Gillmen, lf, 5-1-2; Moore, lf, 0-0-0; Shaffer, 1b, 4-2-2; Romano, rf, 0-0-0; Cunningham, 0-0-0; T. Hoover, dh, 3-1-1; Levinson, ss, 5-2-2; Anders, c, 4-0-0; Hunter, 2b-rf, 4-2-2; Brooks, 3b, 2-0-0; R. Hoover, p, 1-1-0. TOTALS: 36-15-14.
WEST BRANCH – Meersand, cf-p, 3-1-1; Dotts, rf, 4-1-2; Gaines, ss, 4-1-1; Kolesar, 3b, 4-0-0; Demchak, lf, 4-1-2; Lidgett, c, 3-0-0; Norris, 1b, 3-1-1; Beveridge, pr, 0-0-0; Shive, 2b, 3-1-1; Husted, p-cf, 3-1-1. TOTALS: 31-7-9.
TYRONE 002 310 9 – 15-14-2
WEST BRANCH 021 400 0 – 7-9 -4
2B: Golden 2, Shaffer 2
HR: Gaines
RBI: Golden 4, Gillmen 2, Shaffer 4, Levinson, Hunter, Brooks, Gaines 3, Husted 2, Dotts
K: Golden 3, Husted 4
BB: Golden 3, Husted 3, Meersand 3
WP: Hoover LP: Husted
E: Levinson, Brooks, Norris, Gaines, Kolesar

By Rick