Tyrone Legion moves to final
Due to scheduling conflicts, the George B. Kelley Federation will not be sending a team this year to the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series, which is being held this week in Struthers, Ohio.
That means that the Kelley Federation’s best-of-five games championship series, which begins tonight, will be the biggest prize on the 2018 docket for area teams.
Tyrone Legion earned a spot in that championship series Thursday night by winning the third and decisive game in its semifinal series with Shirley’s Cookies, 10-0 via six-inning mercy rule at Vets Field.
Tyrone Legion will face Martin Oil of Bellwood in the championship opener tonight at 7 p.m at Vets.
On Thursday, Tyrone Legion rode the two-hit shutout pitching of right-hander Matt Savino and a 12-hit batting attack that featured three hits and an RBI from both designated hitter Colson Lewis and left fielder Adam Gearhart, and two RBIs apiece from center fielder Andrew Pearson, catcher Cory Lehman, and first baseman Nic Light.
Tonight will mark the first appearance in the league championship series for the latest version of Tyrone Legion, which is now in its third season after rejoining the league.
“To get to play Bellwood will be a good time,” Tyrone manager Kevin Soellner said. “The crowd will (raise) a ruckus, and Bellwood is putting all the parts for being a good team together.”
Savino put together a tidy pitching performance Thursday, striking out three and walking just one in six innings while shutting the door on the Shirley’s Cookies team from Claysburg.
“Matt Savino has pitched real well for us all year,” Soellner said. “He doesn’t throw 90 miles an hour, but he changes speeds real well and when he does pop his fast ball, it seems a little faster.”
Shirley’s Cookies manager Ben Chamberlain was also impressed with the sidearm-throwing Savino Thursday.
“He kept us off-balance,” Chamberlain said. “He throws with a sidearm motion, and his delivery is hard to pick up. He throws a lot of strikes, mixes it up, changes speeds, and does a good job.”
Savino also benefited from plenty of run support provided by his Tyrone Legion teammates Thursday.
Tyrone scored a run in the very first inning when shortstop Kevin Lehner singled and stole second before crossing the plate on Lehman’s single to center.
Tyrone added three runs in the third inning to build a 4-0 lead. Gearhart singled, and scored when Pearson hammered a triple to the base of the fence in center field. Lewis’ single to right scored Pearson, and Lewis eventually scored the final run of the inning on an error.
Gearhart’s RBI double in the fourth inning scored Bryce Hunter, who had singled, to make it a 5-0 game, and Tyrone Legion widened its lead to 8-0 with three runs in the fifth on Lehner’s RBI triple and Light’s two-run double.
The end came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Gearhart doubled and eventually scored on a pair of errors, and Pearson scored the final run on Lehman’s sacrifice fly to center, making it 10-0.
Kelley Federation President Tom Stout said that the league’s teams cast a near-unanimous vote last winter not to go to the national tournament this year. The national tournament’s mid-July start was a big reason why, causing a conflict with the Kelley Federation’s playoff schedule.
So Soellner and the Tyrone Legion team, along with Martin Oil, will focus on the league championship series instead. Tyrone Legion won both of its regular-season meetings with Martin Oil.
“Our league is not sending a team (to nationals) this year, so this is what we’re playing for,” Soellner said of the league championship series. “We set a lot of goals this year, and winning this series is one of them.”
SHIRLEY’S COOKIES (0): Glass p-ss 300, Imler 2b 301, Musselman 1b 300, Chamberlain ss-3b 200, Hunt cf 200, McCarty 3b-p 200, Dibert lf 100, Harr rf 201, N. Helsel rf 000, R.J. Helsel c 200. Totals — 20-0-2.
TYRONE LEGION (10): Pearson cf 421, Hoover 2b 000, Lewis dh 423, Lehner ss 312, Stoner ph 000, Lehman c 211, Shultz cr 010, Lucas 3b 300, M. Savino p 210, Coleman cr 000, Light 1b 301, Hunter rf 211, Gearhart lf 323. Totals –26-10-12.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Shirley’s Cookies 000 000 X–0 2 4
Tyrone Legion 103 132 X–10 12 0
E–Chamberlain 2, Dibert, R.J. Helsel. 2B–Harr, Light, Gearhart. 3B–Pearson, Leamer. RBI–Pearson 2, Lehman 2, Light 2, Hoover, Lehner, Gearhart. SF–Lehman. SB–Shultz 2, Lehner, Hunter. CS–Hunter (R.J. Helsel to Imler). HBP–Dibert by M. Savino; Hunter by Glass; Stoner by McCarty. DP–Both teams turned one double play. LOB–Tyrone Legion 6, Shirley’s Cookies 3. Time of game: 1:34.
SHIRLEY’S COOKIES: Glass (L) 5+IP, 12H, 10R, 2BB, 1SO; McCarty 1/3 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO.
TYRONE LEGION: M. Savino (W) 6IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 3SO.
Umpires: Joe Negri (plate); Larry Stitt (bases).