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IAC SOFTBALL: TIOGA STEPS UP IN CLASS IN 3-0 LOSS TO OWEGO (13 PHOTOS) (2019-04-03)

BY TIM TAYLOR
Valley Sports Report
OWEGO - You don't become a contender by beating up on a bunch of patsies. Tioga head coach Heather Klossner knows that and that's why her Tigers took on Owego here Wednesday.

The weather conditions weren't ideal "” with a very strong, cold wind blowing off nearby Catatonk Creek, but the Tigers tried to make the most of it. Unfortunately, for the blue and gold, the Indians would put forth a strong effort to post a 3-0 non-league victory.

"I think given the conditions, and the quality of the team we just played, we did some good things," she said. "We knew it was going to be a hard game coming in and they are a good caliber team, good pitching, just strong defense all around."

"I liked that everyone gave their all and were excited, kept the energy up," said Owego head coach Kerri Lavender. "I had a fun time."

Owego's Taylor Aubel and Chelsea Sellers would surrender just one hit and three walks and only allow six base-runners.

"I'm really proud of my pitchers," Lavender said. "They both did a really good job."

Aubel was strong from the start, retiring the first seven batters, three by strikeout, before Hannah Fox reached base with one out in the top of the third inning. Two batters later, Michaela Webb tagged her for Tioga's first and only hit, but a fly ball to center field ended the threat.

Tioga would threaten again in the fifth when Fox was hit by a pitch, and Allyson Chapman and Webb followed with back-to-back walks, but with two away, Aubel forced a pop-up to second base.

The visitors' final base-runner was Austyn Vance, who walked with one out in the seventh, but a ground ball back to Aubel and her ninth strikeout of the day ended the game.

The Indians wasted little time scoring as Emma Stephenson walked with one away in the bottom of the first, moved over on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Grace Thomas and scored on Miki Worzel's single.

Summer Pierce and Emma Howe moved into scoring position in the second and third, respectively, but both were stranded by the Tiger defense. Pierce got on with one away, but a Kindra Wessels strikeout and a putout by third baseman Julia Bellis left her at second. Howe reached base with no outs, but three putouts by first baseman Shaina Franks on a pair of balls back to Wessels and another to Bellis ended the threat.

Owego would finally push a second run across in the fourth when Pierce doubled to center field and Anna Felice drove her home.

The Indians tacked on an insurance run in the fifth after Stephenson smacked a line-drive triple to the right-center field gap and scored on a Thomas ground ball back to Wessels.

Wessels had a solid outing in the circle, scattering five hits while fanning four. Aubel struck out five in four innings and Sellers struck out four over the final three.

With the Indians often facing larger schools in STAC play, Lavender was aware that a program like Tioga is primed to knock off a larger school. She was happy that the Class B Indians didn't take the Class C Tigers lightly.

"Size of the school doesn't always matter, and I try to let them know that too," she said. "We play a lot of big teams, but just because we're a smaller school doesn't mean that we can't beat them, so I was pleased that we still went out 100 percent. It doesn't really matter where you're from. I didn't really know what to expect. I just wanted my girls to do their best."

Tioga heads back to the Class C ranks Friday when it visits Union Springs.

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IN PHOTO 1: Tioga's Giovanna Rossi. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.


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