Playoffs no bother for Tyrone’s Shultz
TYRONE — Rodney Shultz made his first career playoff start on Monday, and he said it was something that he not only had been focusing on since he got to school Monday morning, but since the first game of the season.
That focus was evident in his performance, a one-hit shutout, and with the Tyrone offense rolling early, the Golden Eagles notched a 10-0, five-inning win over Penns Valley at the Harry K. Slicker Sports Complex in the District 6 Class 3A quarterfinals.
“From the first game of the season, I’ve been thinking about this moment,” Shultz said. “My whole life, I’ve been thinking about the playoffs and getting that first win.”
Shultz said the energy in the dugout and in the crowd for the Golden Eagles was the difference-maker. Tyrone jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings, and chased Rams pitcher Mason Lieb from the game with one out in the second.
“The energy in the crowd and in the dugout was fire, and we came out ready to play,” Shultz said.
Golden Eagles coach Kevin Soellner praised his young pitcher after his stellar opening-round performance, saying that he earned the right to start this game.
“His baseball IQ is off the charts,” Soellner said. “He has a plan for every batter, him and Cory (Lehman). Cory calls the game, I don’t.”
“We talk about batters and stuff but (Cory) calls the game, and they throw what he tells them to throw” Soellner said. “Rodney might be the best one at hitting the spots. You don’t see him with too many wild ones. He only had two or three batters that went to three balls.”
Soellner said it was good to be able to get that first win under their belts.
“It definitely helps to get that first win. We know more of what to expect on Thursday,” Soellner said. “Obviously, now they believe they can do it.”
Next up for Tyrone is Mount Union, a 9-2 winner over Ligonier Valley, on Thursday. The Trojans won the previous matchup, 13-4, at Mount Union on May 10.
“Against Mount Union, I’ll consider us the underdog, so that’s actually a good thing for us, too,” Soellner said. “Even with home field and the one-seed, they trounced us pretty good. I’ll tell the team we’re the underdogs. At this point, until we beat them, we are. That’ll help a little bit to get the kids focused.”
With Tyrone up 3-0 already after the first, Brandon Lucas got caught in a rundown between third and home, after his RBI single scored courtesty runner Blaine Hoover and Kevin Lehner on a full-count.
Colson Lewis drove Pearson and Dylan Vipond in for two more runs in the second for a 5-0 lead after two.
After Lieb exited for the Rams, Aaron Tobias came in to finish, but he didn’t have any better luck. He surrendered six hits and five more runs, including the Bryce Hunter run that forced the mercy rule win for Tyrone in the bottom of the fifth.
In all, Colson Lewis had four RBIs for the Golden Eagles and Andrew Pearson had two RBIs. Pearson scored three runs for Tyrone and Hunter crossed home plate twice.
Soellner said that past experience against Lieb helped in the preperation for Monday’s win.
“We’ve faced (Lieb) on senior night (a 9-4 Tyrone loss), and we knew what he was going to try to do. We had a good approach. We weren’t trying to pull it hard, but we were trying to pull it to right-center a little bit.”
“Again, I think knowing them, and what they want to do to us, helped us a lot with our game plan.”
Rams coach Shawn Meyer said defensive mistakes cost the Rams, along with baserunning miscues. The was charged with four errors.
“It’s not easy to take your pitcher out there that early in the game and come in with your next guy but it’s at all costs when you’re at these games,” Meyer said. “When you’re in postseason play, it’s all cost at that point so you’re throwing everybody you can to win the game.”
“We just couldn’t get our bats to hit balls that were in the holes. We hit the ball solid today,” Meyer said, “We just couldn’t get it to fall. Everything was right out of play.”
PENNS VALLEY (0): Shaffer cf 200, Breon lf 200, Treaster 1b 200, Snyder c 100, Russell 2b 101, Lieb p 100, Tobias p 100, Sweitzer rf 200, Darlington 3b 200, Brinker ss 100. Totals — 16-0-2.
TYRONE (10): Pearson cf 332, Lewis lf 302, Lehner 2b 211, Lehman c 300, Lucas 3b 301, Savino ss 301, Light 1b 311, Shultz p 202, Hunter rf 321, Hoover cr 010, Vipond cr 020. Totals — 25-10-12.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Penns Valley 000 00X X– 0 1 4
Tyrone 324 01X X–10 12 1
E–Snyder, Wolfe, Tobias, Brinker, Savino. RBI–Lucas, Savino, Pearson 2, Hunter, Lewis 4, Lehman.
Penns Valley: Lieb (LP), 1• IP, 6 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 5 R, 4 ER, 49 pitches; Tobias 3ª IP, 6 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 5 R, 5 ER, 58 pitches.
Tyrone: Shultz (WP), 5 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 57 pitches.
Umpires: Steve Oakes (Home plate); Mark Eberwine, Bill Straesser (bases)
Records: Penns Valley (8-12); Tyrone (18-3)