Tyrone Legion goes small in win

Tyrone Legion, which was the regular-season champion in the George B. Kelley Federation this year and also entered the playoffs as the top seed, has a formidable batting attack.

But Tyrone Legion is also adept at playing “small ball” — bunting for hits, stealing bases, and capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes.

Tyrone Legion did just that in the second inning of the opening game in the Kelley Federation championship series Friday night at Vets Field, using a walk, two bunt singles and three stolen bases, to score four runs en route to a 6-1 victory over Martin Oil.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. at Vets.

“We didn’t have many hits tonight, but we played some small ball,” Tyrone Legion manager Kevin Soellner said. “We made a couple good bunts, and with our speed, we were able to score some runs.”

Tyrone Legion also benefited from two Martin Oil errors in the second inning to jump on top early.

Third baseman Rodney Shultz started the uprising by drawing a leadoff walk. Shortstop Matt Savino reached on a Martin Oil error, and first baseman Nic Light laid down a well-placed bunt for an infield single to load the bases.

Shultz scored the first Tyrone Legion run when second baseman Blaine Hoover grounded into a forceout, and Savino scored the second run by swiping home on the back end of a double steal, with Hoover stealing second and moving to third on an errant throw to the plate.

Right fielder Bryce Hunter then placed a bunt single down the first base line that Hoover scored on to give Tyrone Legion a 3-0 lead.

Hunter stole second, went to third on a groundout, and scored the fourth run of the inning on center fielder Andrew Pearson’s double to the left field fence.

“We had a bad inning,” Martin Oil manager Brock Anders said of the second inning. “We’ve got to be in the game not just physically, but mentally prepared on every pitch.”

Tyrone Legion built a 6-0 lead by adding two more runs in the fifth inning on triples by Pearson and catcher Kevin Lehner, and a run-scoring infield single by Shultz.

“The Pearson boy came through and had two big hits for us,” Soellner said.

Pitcher Cory Lehman, who was also named the league’s Most Valuable Player in a pre-game ceremony, turned in a solid pitching effort, throwing six shutout innings for Tyrone Legion.

“I thought Cory did a good job,” Soellner said. “He didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he fought the whole way through.”

Martin Oil punched across its only run against Tyrone’s bullpen in the seventh inning, when center fielder Ian McFarland’s single to right field scored Blake Johnston, who had drawn a one-out walk, from third base.

“It’s always nice to get on top,” Soellner said. “(Martin Oil has) some good pitching. Hopefully now, they will be feeling a little bit more pressure than we will.”

MARTIN OIL (1): McFarland cf 403, Akers 2b 400, Wood ss 300, Whaley c 300, Showalter eh 202, Robison cr 000, Stewart p 301, Troy Walker 1b 300, Johnston 3b 210, Shaulis rf 200, Kost lf 300. Totals –29-1-6.

TYRONE LEGION (6): Pearson cf 312, Lewis eh-rf 300, Lehner c 312, Lehman p-1b 300, Shultz 3b 211, Savino ss 311, Light 1b 301, Hoover 2b 310, Hunter rf-p 111, Stoner ph 100, Gearhart lf 200. Totals — 27-6-8.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Martin Oil 000 000 1–1 6 4

Tyrone Legion 040 020 X–6 8 1

E–Wood 2, Johnston, Akers, Shultz. 2B–Pearson. 3B–Pearson, Lehner. RBI–McFarland, Pearson, Lehner, Shultz, Hoover, Hunter. SB–McFarland, Savino, Hoover, Hunter. HBP–Showalter. LOB–Martin Oil 10, Tyrone Legion 5.

PITCHING

MARTIN OIL: Stewart (L) 6IP, 8H, 6R, 4ER, 2BB, 4SO.

TYRONE LEGION: Lehman (W) 6IP, 5H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO; Hunter 1IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 1SO.

WP–Lehman. PB–Lehner.

Umpires: Brandon Stitt (plate), Sam Patton (first base); Joe Thompson (third base). Time of game: 1:48.

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