GUYS MILLS — It was just one of those games for Tri-Boro pitcher Hank Shaffer. Things just went well all throughout. He was finding his spots and pitching with command for over five innings of work.
Shaffer’s stellar outing helped Tri-Boro win its second straight District 1 Junior League baseball title with a 7-3 victory over Mid-East/Cochranton at Jake Boyle Memorial Field on Tuesday night.
“Their pitcher peppered the strike zone and kept us off balance and they made the plays when they needed to make the plays,” said MEC head coach Larry Roberts.
Tri-Boro started the game hot offensively as well, giving Shaffer an early 2-0 lead. Brock Cunningham and Logan Anderson opened the game with back-to-back walks. Then after two outs, Bradyn Field clobbered a line drive into right for a two-RBI base knock.
It took Shaffer and the Tri-Boro defense a bit to get going in the bottom of the first. Brighten Anderson hit an infield single with one out. Following a strikeout, Cam Arpin reached on an infield error that brought home Anderson. Then, Arpin reached home on a Heath Kleist single to knot it up 2-2.
From then on, it was the Hank Shaffer show. He shut down the MEC lineup in the second with a pop-up and two strikeouts.
In the third, Anderson once again singled with one out, but was caught stealing via a stellar throw from Cunningham behind the plate. Then, Shaffer drew a routine groundout to short.
Shaffer worked with ease through the fourth and fifth innings with just a walk to blemish his scoresheet. He ended up going five and two-thirds innings with no earned runs allowed, one walk and six strikeouts. He allowed just four hits.
“I had to send (Shaffer) all the stuff from the game before and he prepared for it,” said Tri-Boro head coach Tim Banks. “He knew what the hitters liked and what they didn’t like and where they go.
“He kept them off-balance and with his speed, he was a little bit speedier than our last pitcher last game, and a real hard-breaking curveball. So I think he struck six guys out which really helps out in the end.”
With strong pitching, Tri-Boro just needed a bit of run support, which it got more of in the third and fourth innings.
Shaffer singled to lead off the third. After stealing second, Field’s groundout pushed him over to third. Then, Bryce Kania drilled a ball to deep center field for a sacrifice flyout, giving Tri-Boro a 3-2 lead.
The lead was extended to 4-2 via a Tyler Banks RBI single in the top of the fourth.
In the top of the sixth, Tri-Boro opened up the game with three more tallies off a few hits and a couple miscues. Isaiah Wells led off with a single and an error in the outfield allowed him to take second base. Cunningham followed with an RBI base knock into right.
After Logan Anderson reached on an infield error, Banks grounded out to bring home Cunningham. Then, Shaffer helped his own winning cause more by ripping a shot into left field, scoring Anderson for the 7-2 lead.
“(Tri-Boro) took advantage of their opportunities. They’re a very good team. They’ll represent District 1 well,” said Roberts.
“Here I think we wanted to keep piling on runs after runs and be real aggressive on strikes,” added coach Banks.
In relief, Field shut down a late rally with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. After two singles and a walk, Rocco Tartaglione drilled a liner right to short stop Banks for the first out. Brighten Anderson then hit into a fielder’s choice to make it 7-3, scoring Ryan Reichel, but it wasn’t enough. Stuart Hochstetler popped up to end the game and begin the Tri-Boro celebration.
“What I like most is their attitude, they’re all laid back. They work together and their parents are great too,” coach Banks said.
For MEC this loss means the end of the season. Anderson was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Cam Arpin and Reichel scored a run off one hit.
“I love teaching baseball and I hope I affected 13 kids lives and that they enjoyed themselves,” said coach Roberts. “Great coaching staff, great bunch of kids, great parents, so I couldn’t ask for more.”
Leading the offense for Tri-Boro was Shaffer, who went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Banks added two RBIs on on hit. Kania and Cunningham each had an RBI as well. Cunningham also scored two runs.
Field went 1 1/3 innings in relief. He allowed one earned run off two hits.
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.