Valley Sports Report for Penn York Valley




THE FINAL WORD: QUITE A START TO BASEBALL SEASON IN VALLEY ... AND MUCH MORE (2017-04-18)

The Valley baseball teams are off to quite a start in the 2017 campaign, posting a combined 25-3 record.

More impressive is that all three losses come to each other, with Sayre beating Athens 7-1, Athens edging  Waverly 3-1, and Waverly topping Tioga 12-5.

The loss total is guaranteed to rise this afternoon, but again the loss will be attributed to a Valley rival as Sayre hosts Waverly.

The pristine records will be on the line later in the week, however, as Athens travels to take on NTL Large School-leading Mansfield on Thursday, and Tioga travels to take on IAC South Large School power Notre Dame.

The week ends with Sayre hosting Tioga in a Saturday afternoon matinee that will feature the field being named in honor of longtime Redskin baseball coach Ralph Hendershot, whose grandsons Parker and Pierce Hendershots are standouts on the Tioga team.

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The Wolverines have far exceeded my expectations to this point in the season with wins over Large School rivals Edison and Notre Dame in the first turn through the division, and a convincing win over Tioga in its only meeting of the season.

Sophomore Bradey Roney has been exceptional on the mound for Waverly, and junior EIthan McEnulty has been very good. Senior Brendyn Stillman has been a big weapon in late-inning situations, a role that may become more vogue in the high school ranks with the new pitch count rules.

The biggest surprise may be the offensive production, despite the early-season slump by all-state slugger Brendyn Stillman, who has shown flashes of putting it together in the last few games.

Each game has seen someone different step up a the plate for the Wolverines, like seniors Nate Bennett, Dylan Cooney, Hunter Bodine, Zach VanHouten, and Grant Caplan.

The Wolverines are in command in their division and its win over Tioga was especially key. The Tigers win over Edison Monday gave Waverly more breathing room in the division race. If the Tigers knock off Notre Dame Friday, Waverly will have a two-game lead over the Spartans and Crusaders before the two rivals even play each other.

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The Redskins may be the most talented of the four Valley schools, but an ankle injury suffered by senior Matt Williams could be a big blow.

Williams is a tremendous defensive first baseman, a very good hitter with power, and a power arm on the mound for the Redskins to add to the likes of junior Nate Sweet and Jordan Rockwell. If he misses significant time, it effects them in several different areas.

Sayre has a potent line-up that features good balance, and has the ability score runs playing small ball.

Sam Wheeler and Rockwell have been getting on base at the top of the line-up and big guns Sweet, Williams, Connor Hanafin and Quinn Hanafin have been consistently driving them in for a team averaging 11 runs per game.

Sweet and Rockwell have been rock solid on the mound, but the Redskins have also received good outings from John Esposito and Ryan Murrelle.

The Redskins should vie for a District title, but it will a tougher task without Williams.

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The Wildcats have been riding the arm of senior Cody Jennings, who has been nearly unhittable. Seniors Matt Collins, Joe Horn and Marc Felt have also pitched quality innings for Athens.

Jennings has also been Athens main power source in the early-going, but Felt, Horn, Collins, and senior Daniel Joyce have also contributed some key hits.

Ryan Kennedy and Cory Stivason have also been a force at the top of the line-up, setting the table for the run-producers.

With senior slugger Luke Newman scheduled to return next week, the Wildcats offense should only get better.

If Athens gets fully healthy and puts everything together, it is a legitimate contender for a District title.

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The Tigers lead the IAC South Small School title race by 3 games, so barring a natural disaster, they値l be playing either Trumansburg or Groton for another overall league title.

Other than its 7-1 loss at Waverly, Tioga has averaged 21 runs per game, including a 15-run outburst Monday against Thomas A. Edison.

The schedule gets tougher at the end of the week with games at Notre Dame and Sayre. It will be interesting to see if the hiccup at Waverly was just that, or if some of the inexperienced hitters in the Tigers line-up will continue to struggle against good pitching.

The real key for the Tigers will be if junior Mitch Taylor can get back on the mound this season. If so, it will be a big boost as their defense is at its best with Pierce Hendershot at shortstop, and Parker Hendershot at third base.

The two-time defending Section IV champs are among the favorites in Class C, but there are more questions around this team than its predecessors. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers put everything together again.

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The Waverly girls golf team is fun to watch.

I wrote in my first 擢inal Word of the spring, I thought the Lady Wolverines would break the school record several times this season.

I may have been wrong. The day I wrote that, the young Waverly squad obliterated the record of 177 with a 163. There痴 still room for the record to be broken, and I could see it lowered by quite a bit before this particular group of girls graduates, but it may only be eclipsed once or twice more this season.

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Another golf team to keep an eye on is the Tioga boys squad.

Sam Taylor opened the season with a 34, including three birdies, and that could be a portents of things to come for the freshman, who qualified for States last year as an 8th-grader.

Junior Jake Robertson and sophomore A.J. Middendorf are capable of shooting in the 30s, and sophomore Jaycob Maciak is improving quickly and should be a mainstay at 46 and below.

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The Final Word returns soon.

Get out and support a local team today.

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