Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — A pair of Athens pitchers — juniors Keegan Rude and Aaron Lane — combined on a four-hitter, and the Wildcats put the game away with a six-run rally in the sixth inning en route to a 7-0 win over previously-unbeaten Troy here Thursday afternoon in NTL Large School baseball action.
Rude earned the win with four innings of two-hit ball, while striking out six and walking two. Lane picked up the save with three innings of two-hit relief, striking out two and walking two.
The Wildcats took the lead with an unearned run in the fourth inning.
Junior Joel Maslin reached base on a dropped third strike to lead off the inning, but was quickly replaced on the base paths by senior Nick Watkins via a fielder’s choice. After Lane stroked a single up the middle, Watkins scored from second on a throwing error by the Troy pitcher to make it 1-0.
Troy’s biggest scoring threat of the game came in the top of the sixth when an error and a single put runners on first and third with one out. A two-out walk loaded the bases, but Lane induced an infield pop out to escape the jam unscathed.
Freshman Kyler Setzer reach base on an infield error to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning, and pinch-runner Nick Watkins moved to second on a walk to Lane.
After a passed ball moved the runners to second and third, junior Chase Minnick stroked an RBI single to make it 3-0.
With one out, senior Ethan Witherow lined an RBI single to center field to extend the lead to 4-0. After a groundball single by senior Nate Kennedy put runners on first and third, senior Joe Parshall worked a walk to load the bases.
Athens proceeded to score three more runs without the benefit of a hit as Rude and Maslin reached on walks to force home runs, and Watkins was hit by a pitch to force home another run and cap the rally.
Minnick singled, scored one run, and drove in two runs, while Witherow singled, scored one run, and knocked in a run, and Kennedy and Lane each singled and scored a run to account for Athens’ four hits.
Watkins scored two runs and drove in a run for the Wildcats, and Parshall crossed the plate once.
Troy falls to 4-1.
Athens, now 4-0, returns to action Saturday when it travels to Waverly for a 10:30 a.m. start, then returns home at 1 p.m. to host Tioga as part of the “Wounded Warrior Baseball Classic.”
IN PHOTO 1: Athens junior Keegan Rude. … PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRISTINA KREYKENBOHM.
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