After missing out on possible PIAA gold, Tyrone team hopes to find success in Federation
One of the teams that took losing the scholastic spring sports season the hardest was Kevin Soellner’s Tyrone baseball squad.
The Golden Eagles were coming off their first Mountain League title in decades and a 2019 season that ended in the District 6 semifinals with an 8-2 loss to Mount Union.
Tyrone, the top seed at 18-4, saw its season end. Fourth-seeded Mount Union went on to defeat Notre Dame GP, 9-1, to win the PIAA Class 3A championship a couple weeks later.
“We were hoping to win the Mountain League again and win districts,” Tyrone left-handed pitcher Nic Light said. “We were hoping to win states. When we saw Mount Union win states, we thought that could have been us, because we had that game. We just didn’t make one or two plays.”
Light and his teammates are back on the diamond this summer in both the George B. Kelley Federation and a league made of up former Legion teams being played in Wingate, Huntingdon and Mount Union.
Tyrone Legion is hoping to defend its Kelley Federation title from last summer and is once again at the top of the league.
“It’s nice being back out with my teammates,” Light said. “It’s great to play with them again after missing high school. We want to win this league to show how good we could have been if we had the chance to play.”
For what it’s worth, Soellner felt Tyrone’s high school team was good enough to be state champions even last year. Some costly errors led to four unearned runs for Mount Union in a five-run third inning in that 2019 playoff game.
“I thought it should have been us last year too,” Soellner said. “I think this team probably was a hair less talented, because some of the seniors we lost, but I think they were mentally more ready. Last year, they had never won. So, it was tough for them to handle. This team knew they could do it. We had the pitching to do it, the defense to do it, and I think it was a possibility that we could have (won states).”
Brandon Lucas, who is splitting his summer between playing for Tyrone Legion and prepping for his senior year as the Golden Eagles’ quarterback on the gridiron, said hearing the scholastic baseball season was off was tough to deal with.
“We were about two or three weeks into practice, and it was just so shocking,” Lucas said. “Never in a million years did I think one of my sports seasons would get canceled.”
Lucas was confident Tyrone’s success would have continued.
“We had big goals, but at least we’re playing baseball again,” Lucas said. “I know we would have won the district championship. I’m pretty sure that we would have made a run for the state championship. I really felt bad for the seniors, because I was really hoping we could send them off with a great season.”
Instead, that final season is playing out in the Kelley Federation.
“I’m loving every minute of it,” Soellner said. “My wife isn’t loving it, because I’m not getting anything done around the house, but I love being around these guys. The kids are having a blast and just loving it. It’s great for them. They are playing hard, and it’s great that seniors get one last chance to play together.”