Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — Three Athens hurlers combined to outduel Tioga senior Pierce Hendershot as the Wildcats went 2-0 in the “Wounded Warriors Baseball Classic” with a 2-1 win over the Tigers here Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats claimed the mythical title of “Valley champs” Saturday with wins over Waverly and Tioga, which both were 1-1 on the day. Sayre was 0-2.
Junior Brady Smith, who earned a three-inning save in Athens’ win at Waverly in the morning, pitched three scoreless innings to start the nightcap. He allowed two hits and two walks.
Junior Chase Minnick earned the win in relief, allowing an unearned run on one hit, while striking out one and walking one in one inning of work, and senior Nate Kennedy tossed three scoreless innings for the save — yielding three hits, while striking out three and walking two.
Hendershot was tagged with the tough-luck loss, allowing two runs on two hits, while striking out six and walking one in six innings on the mound.
After three scoreless innings, Tioga senior John Worthing led off the top of the fourth inning with a line-drive single up the middle, then stole second, and moved to third on a grounder off the bat of junior Brady Worthing.
With two outs and runners on first (junior Thomas Cook walked) and third, John Worthing scored on an error, but Cook was cut down trying to take third base on the errant throw.
The Wildcats answered immediately with two runs in the home half of the fourth inning.
Senior Kaden Rude led off the inning with a walk, quickly stole second and scampered to third on an error on the play. Senior Ethan Witherow then stroked an RBI single to center field to tie the game at 1-1.
With one out, Witherow stole second and took third on an errant throw on the play. Senior Joe Parshall then ripped an RBI double to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
Hendershot retired the last eight Wildcat batters he faced, but the Tigers couldn’t scratch out a run against Kennedy despite putting two runners on base in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Hendershot walked to lead off the top of the fifth inning, and junior Mason Booser followed with a single, but a double-play grounder and an outfield fly ended the threat.
John Worthing led off the sixth inning with a line-drive single into centerfield, and Cook hit a one-out single to left field to put runners on first and second, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the threat.
Hendershot walked again to lead off the seventh inning, ended up on third base after a pair of passed balls, but Kennedy escaped the jam to preserve the win.
Parshall doubled and drove in a run, and Witherow singled, scored one run, and drove in one run to account for Athens’ offense.
John Worthing was 3-for-3 and Booser stroked a pair of singles to pace Tioga at the plate, and Cook added a single.
Athens returns to action Monday at Wellsboro, while Tioga hosts Lansing Thursday.
IN PHOTO 1: Tioga’s Thomas Cook and Athens’ Nate Kennedy. … PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.
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