Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — Tioga bounced back from a disappointing end to the 2018 season with its third Section IV, Class C baseball title in five years to earn Kevin Evanek the 2019 Valley Sports Report “Coach of the Spring” honors.
In 2018 — his first year at the helm, Evanek led Tioga to an 18-3 record, a division title, and an overall IAC Small School title, but their season ended with a loss to Unatego in the Class C quarterfinals.
This season, Tioga got off to a slow start, and missed the IAC playoffs, but peaked at the right time and reeled off four straight postseason wins to win their third Section IV title in five years.
The Tigers dropped an 8-7 decision to Cooperstown in the state quarterfinals to finish their season at 17-5. Cooperstown’s season came to an end with a loss in the Class C state championship game.
Evanek’s record in two years at Tioga skipper is 35-8.
The remainder of the 2019 “Super 7 Coaches of the Spring:”
Brian Wendela, softball, Waverly: In his third season in the dugout, Wendela, whose Waverly teams lost to Susquehanna Valley in extra innings in the semifinals in each of the last two postseason, finally knocked off the Lady Sabers, this time in the Section IV, Class B championship game for the program’s first-ever section title.
The Lady Wolverines dropped a 3-1 decision to Oneida in the state quarterfinals. Oneida ended its season with a loss in the Class B championship game.
Wendela is 45-14 in his three seasons.
Jamie VanDuzer, baseball, Sayre: With a very young roster that struggled to a 2-6 start, VanDuzer had the Redskins playing their best baseball at the end of the season, directing them into their third consecutive District championship game, thanks to 10 wins in 12 games.
Despite a 2-1 loss to South Williamsport in the Class AA title game, Sayre — the two-time defending Class A champs, advanced to the PIAA playoffs, where it lost a play-in game to Coudersport.
Scott Baird and David Hogan, track & field, Waverly: Baird’s Lady Wolverines advanced two girls and a relay to the New York State Championships, while Hogan’s boys team had three athletes competing in four events.
Junior Isaac Chandler won a bronze medal in the pole vault, and the 3,200-meter relay team of juniors Cora Smith, Sheridan Talada and Elizabeth Fritzen, and freshman Olivia Nitinger won a sixth-place medal.
The Lady Wolverines finished second in the IAC Championships, and second at the Class B Championships, while the boys were fourth at the IAC meet, and third at the Class B Championships.
Ben Gambrell and Scott Riley, track & field, Athens: The Wildcat track & field program continued to churn out state qualifiers, sending five athletes — three girls and two boys — in six events, and one relay team.
Senior Rachel Hutchison won a gold medal in the 300-meter hurdles for the only Wildcat medal of the state championship weekend.
Gambrell’s Lady Wildcats won their fifth consecutive NTL Championship meet, and finished third at the District 4 Championships, while Riley’s Wildcat boys finished fourth at the league meet, and eighth at Districts.
Mickey Farrell, softball, Athens: In his first year in the dugout, Farrell directed the Lady Wildcats to a share of its first-ever NTL Large School title, and a 14-5 record.
The Lady Wildcats dropped a heart-breaking 3-2 decision at home to Bloomsburg in the District 4, Class AAA quarterfinals.
Brenden Hitchcock, baseball, Athens: The Wildcats exceeded the expectations of many, posting a 15-5 record and winning an NTL Large School title.
The Wildcats season came to an end in an error-filled 11-3 loss at home to Loyalsock in the District 4, Class AAA quarterfinals.
IN PHOTO: Tioga’s Kevin Evanek.
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