Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Athens jumped out to a 6-0 lead, and held on for a 7-4 win over Waverly here Saturday morning in the opening round of the “Wounded Warrior Baseball Classic.”
The Wildcats took advantage of two Waverly errors in the top of the first inning to plate four unearned runs.
Senior Kaden Rude led off the game with a line-drive single to left field, and moved to second on a passed ball. Senior Ethan Witherow then reached on a dropped fly ball in right field that forced Kaden Rude to hold at second.
After a fielder’s choice grounder allowed senior Nate Kennedy to reach base and pushed Kaden Ride to third base, senior Joe Parshall beat out an infield single that drove in a run to make it 1-0.
Following a walk to junior Keegan Rude, junior Joel Maslin drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 2-0, then an infield error scored two runs to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead.
The Wolverines appeared poised to cut into he deficit in the home half of the first inning, drawing three walks off Athens starter Witherow to load the bases with one out, but Witherow re-grouped and struck out two Waverly batters to escape the jam unscathed.
Parshall led off the top of the third with a single, and with two outs senior Nick Watkins and junior Chase Minnick stroked back-to-back singles to extend the lead to 5-0. Moments later, Watkins scooted home on a passed ball to make it 6-0.
Waverly finally got on the scoreboard against Witherow in the bottom of the fourth inning, but it took a two-out error to help the Wolverines to three runs.
With one out, freshman Caden Hollywood flared a single into left field, and senior Bradey Roney hit a booming double to deep left field to out runners on second and third.
With two out, 7th-grader Jay Pipher worked a walk to load the bases. An infield error allowed Hollywood to score, and kept the inning alive. Senior Colby Sindoni took advantage and stroked a two-run single to right field to cut the deficit to 6-3.
The Wolverines took advantage of two Athens errors to plate a run in the home half of the fifth inning to trim the lead to 6-4. It could have been a big inning, but Athens reliever Brady Smith worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam with a two-out comebacker to the mound for a force play at home.
The Wolverines had two hits in the bottom of the sixth, but had a runner thrown out at the plate.
Athens turned a walk, two Waverly errors, and a sacrifice fly by Watkins into a run in the top of the seventh inning to make it 7-4.
Hollywood led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield single, but Smith retired the next three batters to preserve the win.
Parshall had two hits and two runs scored, while Watkins singled twice, scored one run, and drove in one run, and Kaden Rude singled twice and scored one run to pace Athens at the plate.
Kennedy singled and scored two runs for the Wildcats and Minnick singled and drove in a run.
Witherow earned the win for the Wildcats, allowing three runs — none earned — on three hits, while striking out four and walking four in four innings of work.
Smith notched the save, allowing one unearned run on three hits in three innings of relief. He struck out four and walked two.
Sindoni singled twice and had two RBI, and Hollywood singled twice and scored one run to lead Waverly at the plate, while Roney doubled and scored a run, and junior Ethan Stotler singled and scored one run.
Roney was tagged with the loss, allowing six runs — two earned — on six hits in four innings, while striking out three and walking two.
Stotler relieved and allowed one unearned run on two hits, while striking out two and waling none in three innings of work.
Waverly, now 3-3, hosts Sayre Saturday afternoon in the second round of the “Wounded Warrior Baseball Classic,” while Athens hosts Tioga.
IN PHOTO 1: Athens senior Ethan Witherow. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.
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