By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG -- Two of the Heartland Athletic Conference's more surprising teams played possibly the Valley's best game of the season to date Thursday.
If not the best, it was easily the most intense.
Nate Lynch broke a tie with the bases full and two outs in the last of the seventh inning. The Mifflinburg senior smashed a ball too hot for Lewisburg third baseman Jesse Flannery to spear with a lunge, and the umpire ruled his tag attempt of the runner from second base failed, allowing Brady Lloyd to score the game-winning run, 3-2, in the rivals' nonleague game.
Oakley Whitesel threw six shutout innings after a rough first, and the Wildcats won for the third time in four days.
"This is a game we would have lost last year," Mifflinburg coach Tom Church said. "This is one of those games where we didn't play very well again ... and we found a way to win. It's a step in the right direction, a good boost of confidence for the kids.
"That's the game we were looking for all year," said Lewisburg coach Kevin Kline. "Unfortunately a ball here or there, we win this game (or) a couple calls here or there. But overall ... it was a great game."
The Green Dragons (3-6, 1-5 HAC-II), trying to match last year's win total before the season's midpoint, led 2-0 after three of their first four batters had hits. Whitesel, a senior lefty, was coming off a five-inning no-hitter Monday against Hughesville, but that was a distant memory after Joey Gardner's two-run double to the gap in right-center field. A walk and a two-single forced Whitesel to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam to maintain the 2-0 deficit.