JERSEY SHORE — Anyone who has felt the discomfort of having wisdom teeth removed would cringe at the idea of pitching six solid innings in a league championship game.

Kyle Miller accomplished this very feat with a 7-3 win over Lewisburg on Thursday to give Jersey Shore the American Legion West Branch League title and a berth in the Region V Tournament starting Saturday in Northumberland.

“Anytime Kyle toes the rubber we know we have a good shot at winning,” Jersey Shore manager Shawn Weaver said. “He went out and threw well for us. After having teeth removed, I was just happy to have him play, let alone pitch.”

Miller opened the day sitting down Lewisburg in order with two pop outs and a 5-3 ground out.

Jersey Shore then helped their recovering pitcher by opening the bottom of the frame with back-to-back home runs.

“It was big to lead the game off with home runs,” Weaver said. “It put us ahead, and more importantly it gave Kyle the cushion he needed to feel comfortable on the mound.” Lewisburg rebounded to answer with a lead off home run of its own to start the second. “That put us right back in the game,” Lewisburg manager Dave Hoffman. “It’s tough to come back after back-to-back home runs on the first two batters.”

Miller then zoned in to pick up three consecutive strikeouts to end the inning and stop Lewisburg from gaining any momentum.

In the bottom of the third Jersey Shore capitalized on a Lewisburg mistake after Lance White was hit by a pitch. White then stole second and later scored on a sacrifice fly hit to center moving Jersey Shore’s lead to 3-1.

“We just made some little mistakes today,” Hoffman said. “It’s the little things in baseball that make teams pay, and today we paid.”

Miller continued to hold Lewisburg down, thanks to tough defense.

After getting Keith Needham to fly out to left, Miller walked Nate Wagner on four consecutive pitches. Jerry Lloyd then roped a ground ball at Jersey Shore’s shortstop, Derek Smith, to set up a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

“The double play was big for us,” Weaver said. “It got Kyle out of trouble and ended the inning.”

The two teams continued to dominate with defense trading scoreless frames through the fourth and fifth.

“This is what a championship game is about,” Hoffman said. “The defenses were extremely difficult to score on.”

Lewisburg would finally get to Miller in the sixth by scoring two on one hit.

John Gulden opened the sixth with the third hit of the game for Lewisburg with a single into left. Miller then helped advance Gulden to second by walking Matt Ruiz on the following at bat. Keith Needham then plated both runners with a double into the left-center gap. Needham would be the last batter Miller would face as Lance White entered to finish the inning without giving up anymore runs.

Although Miller was credited with the no-decision, the box score will not show the amazing job he did. Miller was three days removed from having Wisdom teeth pulled and gave everything he had to help Jersey Shore win the league.

“I can’t say enough about Kyle’s performance,” Weaver said. “He gave everything he had and I couldn’t be happier.”

Jersey Shore wasted little time breaking the tie in the bottom of the sixth as White helped his cause with a leadoff double. Smith would follow with a double of his own to plate White and erase the tie. Following a Josh Wrench walk, Miller proved he wasn’t entirely done as he drove the first pitch of his at bat over the right-field fence. The three-run jack moved Jersey Shore’s lead to 7-3.

“I give our guys credit,” Weaver said. “We got the runs right back after Lewisburg tied the game.”

White retired Lewisburg’s first two batters of the seventh with a ground out and a pop out to center. Ruiz then attempted to start a two-out rally with a single into right, but just as quickly as things started rolling, Jersey Shore ended the game when Tyler Campbell made a tough catch on a line-drive to center.

“This is my last time around with some of these players,” Weaver said. “I am really happy for them and am looking forward to competing against other league champions.”

Jersey Shore will play Abington VFW at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Trending Video