7-run inning helps Hegins hold off WV

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TOWER CITY - Hegins was roughed up by one of the best teams in the Schuylkill County Teener League on June 22.

It was quickly forgotten with one big inning against a rival the following day.

Kolt Schaeffer was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including two in a seven-run third inning that lifted Hegins to a 12-7 victory over Williams Valley in a Senior Division contest.

Hegins (8-8) lost earlier Sunday to West Division champ Branch Maroon 13-3 in 5 innings. Hegins then made the trip to Tower City and fell behind 2-0 after the bottom of the first.

Hegins sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the third, scoring its seven runs on seven hits to take a 7-2 lead. Six of the runs also came with two outs. Hegins added much-needed insurance with a run in the fourth, three in the sixth and one more in the seventh.

Matt Barr and Willie Kimmel were also 2-for-4 for Hegins, while Tyler Lucas was 2-for-3 as eight of the nine Hegins hitters had at least one hit in the game. Ike Lucas also drove two runs.

"We hit in the second game," Hegins manager Shawn Masser said. "We did a better job of putting the ball in play.

"We knew this was a big game because they are in the division, plus we are battling them for a playoff spot probably. Of course, it's a rival, too, so we knew it was a big game."

With Branch Maroon unbeaten at 13-0, the division title is out of reach of Hegins and Williams Valley, but they were both fighting for spots in the league playoffs.

Branch Maroon (13-0), DeAngelo's (13-1), Schuylkill Haven (12-1), Frackville (11-3) and Girardville (9-5) appear to have spots locked up, with Williams Valley (8-7), Hegins, Shenandoah (8-8) and Pine Grove (7-6) battling to complete the field.

Cressona (5-9) still had a shot, too.

The eight teams with the best records, regardless of division, qualify for the playoffs.

Williams Valley also played two games Sunday, beating Branch Gold 12-2 earlier in the day. Williams Valley had 13 hits against Hegins, but couldn't overcome the seven-run third.

"The third inning killed us," Williams Valley manager Todd Graff said. "It is tough right now because our best pitcher and best hitter are on vacation. So we are moving people around, we are bring in 'B' (junior division) players and it's tough. They hit the ball. They did what they had to do and we didn't."

Williams Valley opened the scoring with two outs in the bottom of the first. Willy Girard came home from third when Hegins tried to pick off Dylan Rabuck at second, but the ball went into center field. Dawson Maurer hit a pop fly down the left-field line that dropped in for hit, bringing home Rabuck.

Then came the top of the third against Williams Valley starter Travis Martin.

With one out, Kimmel singled home Tyler Lucas, who walked. Colton Love reached on a fielder's choice, erasing Kimmel at second for the second out of the inning.

After Danny Opozda walked, Martin was called for a balk as Love came home. Ryan Schaffer knocked in Opozda, Logan Yoder reached on a fielder's choice and Ike Lucas was hit by the pitch to load the bases.

Schaeffer delivered with a two-run single to left, knocking in Schaffer and Yoder. Barr brought home Ike Lucas with a bloop single to center, and Tyler Lucas knocked in the inning's final run with a single down the left-field line.

"Everybody contributed in some way that inning," Masser said.

Schaffer went the first five innings to get the win, allowing four earned runs on eight hits, striking out four and walking five. He threw 107 pitches, including 59 for strikes. Love pitched the final two innings. Schaffer and Love combined to strand 12 Williams Valley runners.

"He had both his fastball and curve, good control," Masser said of Schaffer. "He had them off a little bit, but they still hit him well. They are a good hitting team."

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