Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Considering the way the rest of the game went, it was fitting that Tyrone’s 9-6 loss to West Branch yesterday at the Harry K. Sickler Athletic Complex ended on a base running error.
But while Tyler Gillmen’s hasty move to advance to third base before Ben Gummo’s grounder cleared the infield ended the game and a mildly promising Tyrone rally, it was far from the only mistake that led to the Eagles’ ultimate downfall in their biggest MAC game of the season.
There were others, each costly in its own way. Clint Wilson was chopped down in similar fashion in the third inning after Gillmen had reached on an infield single with two outs. Ben Gummo committed two errors at second base – although neither translated into runs – and left fielder Tyler Golden had a routine single go through his wickets, paving the way for West Branch’s two-run seventh.
It got worse. The game was all but decided in a pivotal second inning when the Warriors sent 13 batters to the plate against Gillmen, scoring seven runs on four hits.
It was the sophomore’s toughest outing in six varsity starts as he surrendered seven runs, all earned, and walked four in just 1 2/3 innings.
“He’ll bounce back next time,” said Tyrone manager Tom Coleman. “He just needs to work ahead of batters and throw strikes.
With the loss, Tyrone falls to 10-5 overall and 5-3 in Division 3 of the MAC. West Branch improved to 12-4 and 4-4 in the MAC, and created a log-jam at the top of the divisional standings along with the Eagles and Mount Union.
“It was a tough game,” said Coleman. “If we eliminate some of the mental mistakes and one bad inning, we have a lead or close to it. There are definitely some things we have to patch up before our next two games.”
But if Tyrone doesn’t hold its destiny in its hands today as it did before the game yesterday, it needs look no further than the mirror for answers. Tyrone stranded six base runners, including three in the first two innings that advanced into scoring position, and never came through with the key hit that would start a rally or keep one going.
That wasn’t the case for West Branch in the second inning, when the Warriors rallied with two outs to plate all of their runs and take a commanding 7-1 lead. Keaton Gaines and Kevin Hubler led off the inning with back-to-back singles, but Gillmen battled back to fan the next two batters. However, before Gillmen could get out of the inning pitcher Ted Little drove an 0-1 delivery deep into center field beyond the reach of Josh Clark for a stand-up double that scored two runs.
Grady Luzier singled home Little to make it 3-1, Dylan Viehdorfer drew a bases loaded walk one batter later, and Coty Peters followed that with a base hit that plated one. Gillmen then walked the bases loaded once more, and issued his fourth free pass to Will Christensen to put the Warriors up 6-1.
That ended Gillmen’s day on the hill, and reliever Brandon Maceno came in to stop the damage. He walked home a run with the first batter he faced, but struck out Shawn Quick to retire the side. Maceno then went four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, before West Branch scored a pair of unearned runs in the seventh.
But while Maceno was keeping the Warriors in check, Tyrone was doing little at the plate to take advantage. After scoring an unearned run in the second after Clark reached on a three-base error to make it 7-2, the Eagles went three innings with only one runner getting as far as second base.
Back-to-back doubles by Gillmen and Wilson in the sixth, followed by an RBI single by Gummo, gave Tyrone two runs, cutting the lead to 7-4, but West Branch answered in the top of the seventh with a pair of insurance runs. One came when a Little single to left got past Golden and all the way to the fence, allowing Quick to score from first.
Tyrone tried to climb back into it in its last at-bat, with Wilson singling home Brit Mingle to make it 9-5, and Gummo legging out an infield single that scored Matt Morrissey. But on the play Luzier backed up third baseman Jim Moslak and kept the ball in the infield with a snag deep in the hole.
Gillmen had advanced to second and kept going after the ball got past Moslak, and was cut down at third on a perfect throw by Luzier to end the game.
“We made a lot of base running errors and fielding errors that they capitalized on,” Coleman said. “I thought we actually hit well enough to win.”
DIAMOND NOTES: The seven runs the Warriors hung on Tyrone in the second were the most runs scored against the Eagles by a team in one inning this season … Little went the distance to record the win for West Branch, striking out six … Wilson’s double was his team-leading eleventh extra-base hit … Gillmen’s double gave him five extra base hits in the last six games … Tyrone hosts Bellwood-Antis on Monday.
West Branch 9 Tyrone 6
WEST BRANCH – Little, p, 3-2-3; Moslak, 3b, 3-1-1; Luzier, ss, 4-1-1; Viehdorfer, c, 3-0-0; Demchak, cr, 0-1-0; Peters, cf, 4-1-1; Gaines, lf, 0-0-0; Shue, dh, 3-1-1; Hubler, 1b, 3-1-1; Christensen, rf, 3-0-0; Quick, 2b, 4-1-1. TOTALS: 30-9-9.
TYRONE – Mertiff, ss, 4-0-1; Mingle, rf, 4-1-1; Soellner, c, 4-0-1; Myers, cr, 0-1-0; Wilson, 1b, 3-1-2; Morrissey, cr, 0-1-0; Gillmen, p-2b, 4-0-2; Gummo, 2b, 4-0-2; Golden, 3b-lf, 0-0-0; Stotler, dh, 3-0-0; Maceno, lf-p, 3-0-1; Clark, cf, 3-1-0. TOTALS: 32-6-10.
WEST BRANCH 070 000 2 – 9-8-4
TYRONE 110 002 2 – 6-10-3
2B: Wilson, Gillmen, Little
RBI: Little 2, Luzier 2, Viehdorfer, Peters, Hubler, Christensen, Wilson, Gillmen, Gummo 2
SO: Little 6, Maceno 6, Gillmen 4
BB: Little 1, Gillmen 4, Maceno 4
WP: Little LP: Gillmen

By Rick