Tri-Valley Dawgs shut out Upper Dauphin


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HEGINS - Hegins Park was the place to be on May 4.

A warm sun and sparkling blue skies as far as the eye could see, for miles across the valley to the green mountains in the distance. Three ballgames - two softball, one baseball - going on at the same time. Grilled burgers, hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches feeding a crowd that grew as the day went on.

Dozens of families and friends gathering, many for, as the bright red T-shirts read on the back: "1st Annual TVHS Softball Alumni Game in honor of Kayla Heim.'' Fans in lawn chairs and others filling the bleachers enjoying a day of play on the diamond, maybe taking a chance at a raffle or partaking in a dinnertime feast at the park.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to help take care of two of their own - Kayla Heim and Chad Richards - who are battling through some health issues.

Amid the festivities, Tri-Valley's varsity softball team had some non-league business to handle against Upper Dauphin. Sophomore Taryn Wilson tossed a two-hit shutout and went 3-for-4 to lead the Dawgs to a 9-0 victory over the Trojans.

"The day's made for Kayla Heim, but we also had a game to play,'' Tri-Valley coach Marty Shade said. "The girls put aside all the side stuff, played well and hit the ball well.

"Taryn Wilson pitched a great game and hit well, too.''

Let's start with the pitching. The right-hander limited Upper Dauphin (8-8) to singles by Amber Bingaman and Kate Boyer. She struck out 12 and walked none.

She had four 1-2-3 innings and faced 23 batters - just two over the minimum.

"I felt pretty good,'' Wilson said. "I knew I had the defense to back me up.''

Tri-Valley (14-4) didn't make an error, and catcher Cat Troutman threw out a runner trying to steal third base.

Wilson, who has settled into the cleanup spot, led the Dawgs at the plate. She laced an RBI single in the third inning to help Tri-Valley jump out to a 4-0 lead and smashed an RBI triple to left-center in the fifth.

"Yeah, the first game that I was batting fourth, I was like, 'Whoa!' '' Wilson said. "I got a little nervous that game, but after that I've been doing pretty good.''

So has senior star Juli Weber, back in center field on this day after tours at first base and catcher this season. Weber had a Weber-like day: 2-for-3, a triple, two runs scored and four stolen bases. In the first inning, she singled, then stole second, third and home. She swiped the plate on a delayed steal, breaking for the dish just as the catcher threw the ball back to the pitcher.

After losing two games last weekend at the Central Columbia Tournament, the Dawgs rebounded with three straight victories, including Schuylkill League Division II wins at Minersville and at Lourdes. Saturday's victory marked their third in as many days.

Tri-Valley enters this final week of the regular season in first place in Division II, one game ahead of Minersville and Williams Valley. The Dawgs were slated to host the Vikings on Monday and visit Mahanoy Area on Wednesday. (Details of those games were unavailable prior to print production.)

"It was a good week for us,'' Shade said, "beating Minersville after losing to them at the tournament. We came home a little disgusted after losing two games. It sent us backwards a little bit.

"We had a couple good practices, then Thursday night played real well against Minersville, knocked them off,'' he added. "We struggled a little bit (Friday) night against Lourdes, but the girls came through with the bats, and we pulled a big win out there.

"And then today, it's just a great day for the cause, what we're doing.''

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