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Valley Sports Report
CANDOR - Candor freshman Anna Greeno kept Tioga off balance for six innings, but the Lady Tigers scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to rally for a 7-5 win here Tuesday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Section IV, Class C softball playoffs.

"They didn't hang their heads, they battled through it, and did what they needed to do, then held on at the end," said Tioga coach Heather Klossner.

The Lady Indians found themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum in the seventh inning.

"For six innings it was awesome, everybody was playing heads-up (softball)," said Candor coach Steve Frye. "In the seventh inning, we started panicking a bit - not catching the ball and missing cut-offs.

"We kind of fell apart at the end," he noted. "A lot of its youth, and kids who have never been here before.

"It was a good game," added Frye, "Unfortunately we imploded at the end."

Greeno held Tioga to two runs on seven hits in the first six innings, with five of those hits accounted for by the 2-3-4 hitters (sophomore Olivia Ayres, sophomore Kindra Wessels, and junior Giovanna Rossi) in the Lady Tiger line-up.

"We've had a hard time with middle-speed pitchers," said Klossner. "I think our girls would almost rather face a hard thrower. It's a timing thing, you see such different speeds in the IAC it's hard to get your timing.

"It was the fourth time through the line-up, and we finally started timing her," added Klossner. "(Candor) switched pitchers and I think we got a couple good swings against some faster pitches."

With one out in the top of the seventh inning, lead-off hitter Michaela Webb worked an eight-pitch walk, and Ayres, who had either bunted or slapped in her first three at-bats, ripped a line-drive single up the middle to put runners on first and second.

Wessels then hit a long fly-ball RBI double to right-center field to trim the deficit to 4-3

"I didn't really want to get to (Wessels), she's a nice bat," said Frye. "She hit the ball hard in all of her at-bats."

Rossi greeted Candor reliever Shelby Swartz with a long fly-ball two-run triple to right-center field to give the Lady Tigers a 5-4 lead.

After walks to freshman Julia Bellis and Austyn Vance loaded the bases, Greeno resumed the pitching duties. Tioga added a pair of insurance runs on an RBI single to left-center field by junior Shaina Franks, and an RBI fielder's choice by junior Kim Tarbox to make it 7-4.

"It was kind of a roll of the dice if we could get another one from (Greeno)," said Frye.

"Bringing Shelby (Swartz) in was tough, I really didn't want to, but I thought Anna (Greeno) was panicking a little," noted Frye. "If Shelby is throwing strikes, she's going to be fine.

"We wanted to mix it up a little bit for their better hitters, (but) we just couldn't throw a strike," added Frye. "We changed it back once we got to the bottom of the order because (Anna) had mowed them down pretty well, and we got out of it."

Candor loaded the bases with one out in the home half of the seventh - on walks to Ayran Peters and Jennah Kareem, sandwiched around a single by Swartz. Searra Allen did plate a run with a sacrifice fly, but Tioga ace Kindra Wessels retired the final bater on a fly ball to Vance in center field to end the game.

Tioga took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-out double by Wessels and an RBI single by Rossi, but Candor tied the game when sophomore Addie Aman drove Wessels' first pitch of the game over the fence in left-center field.

Webb reached on an error to lead off the top of the third, and scored on a two-out RBI double by Rossi to give Tioga a 2-1 lead.

The Lady Indians answered in the home half of the third inning with a two-out RBI single by Kareem.

Tioga nearly broke the tie in the top of the fifth on a single by Ayres and a long double by Wessels, but Kareem, at shortstop, alertly fired a throw behind Ayres at third base for the second out. Rossi then grounded out to end the inning.

Candor took the lead in the home half of the fifth on a wild pitch that scored Peters to make it 3-2.

The Lady Indians extended the lead to 4-2 in the sixth inning on back-to-back doubles by Asia Curkendall and Greeno.

Wessels earned the win for Tioga, allowing five runs - four earned - on six hits, while striking out nine and walking four in seven innings.

"Kindra threw the ball well," said Klossner. "She kept her head on her shoulders. She wasn't getting some of the calls she wanted ... her ball moves and sometimes it's difficult (for the umpire) to pick up.

"She hung in there and (catcher) Michaela Webb called a great game," noted Klossner. "They kept (Candor) off balance, and kept throwing the pitches they weren't hitting.

"They've worked very well together this year," she added.

Rossi tripled, doubled and singled, scored one run, and had four RBI, and Wessels had three hits, including two doubles, scored two runs, and drove in one run to pace Tioga's 11-hit attack, while Ayres singled twice and scored one run, and Franks singled twice and drove in one run.

Tarbox singled and drove in a run in the win, while Webb scored two runs, and Bellis crossed the plate once.

Curkendall doubled and singled, and scored one run to pace Candor's six-hit attack, while Aman homered, scored twice, and drove in one run, Greeno doubled and drove in one run, Kareem singled and drove in one run, Swartz added a single, and Peters scored a pair of runs.

Greeno was tagged with the loss, allowing five runs - four earned - on 10 hits, while striking out three and walking three in seven innings of work. Swartz faced three batters in relief, allowing one hit and two walks, which led to two earned runs.

Fifth-seed Tioga, now 13-5, will host eighth-seed Harpursville, which upset top-seed Notre Dame, Thursday in the semifinals.


IN PHOTO 1: Tioga's Kindra Wessels. ... PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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