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IAC / NTL SOFTBALL: TIOGA HOLDS OFF SAYRE IN WILD, 21-18, SLUGFEST (24 PHOTOS) (2023-04-15)

Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — Tioga led by 13 runs after four innings, then held on for dear life to win a 21-18 slugfest over Sayre here Saturday afternoon in the opening game of the "Battle at the Border" softball tournament.

Sophomore Erin Luther bashed a pair of home runs, and when Sayre intentionally walked her to load the bases, senior M.J. Thetga cranked a grand slam as part of Tioga’s 15-hit attack.

"I am really happy with the way the girls hit the ball," said Tioga coach Heather Klossner.

"Erin Luther's bat was on fire," noted Klossner. "When they intentionally walked her to load the bases to get to M.J. (Thetga), M.J. said ‘challenge accepted,’ and hit it out. That was great."

The Lady Redskins took advantage of two base on balls, an error, and a passed ball to score two runs in the top of the first inning without the benefit of a hit.

Luther hit the first pitch she saw in the home half of the first inning over the left-field fence to tie the game at 2-2.

A double by Thetga re-ignited the rally. After a walk to senior Felicia Lantz, and a wild pitch put runners at second and third, sophomore McKenzie Williams flared a two-run single over the shortstop’s head to give the Lady Tigers a 4-2 lead.

Senior Megan Shumway capped the rally with a two-out RBI single to make it 5-2.

Freshman RaeAnne Feeko lined a triple down the the left-field line to lead off the second inning, and scored on an RBI single by junior Megan Vance. Luther then drilled a line drive over the center field fence to make it 8-2.

The Lady Tigers took advantage of three errors, two walks, a hit batter to score three runs, then tacked on another run as Sayre sophomore shortstop Abbie McGaughey chased down two Tioga base-runners for an unassisted double play to make it 12-2

Sayre scored two more runs without the benefit of a hit — four walks and an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of McGaughey — to trim the deficit to 12-4 after 2 1/2 innings.

Luther led off the home half of the inning with a one-hopper off the left field fence for a double, and scored on an RBI single by Thetga to make it 13-4.

A walk, an error, and two hit batsman — all with two outs — resulted in another run for Sayre in the top of the fourth, and closed the gap to 13-5.

Vance stroked a one-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to make it 14-5, then Luther was intentionally walked to set the stage for Thetga, who drove a 1-0 pitch well over the fence in left-center field to make it 18-5.

In the top of the fifth, with one out and the bases loaded — on two hit batsman and an error, sophomore Raegan Parrish delivered Sayre’s first hit of the game, a base-clearing three-run double that one-hopped the fence down the right-field line.

Parrish scored moments later on a passed ball to close the gap to 18-9.

Parrish then pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the home half of the inning.

Sayre again loaded the bases without a hit — an error and two walks, and senior Makenna Garrison delivered a three-RBI double to centerfield to trim the deficit to 18-12.

Junior Meghan Flynn worked a two-out walk, and Garrison and Flynn eventually worked their way around the bases on wild pitches to make it 18-14.

The Lady Tigers kept the scoreboard spinning in the bottom of the sixth.

Thetga led off with a single, and, after Lantz was hit by a pitch, junior Emily Bidwell added a one-out single to load the bases.

Shumway grounded an RBI single into left field to up the lead to 19-14. Junior Elizabeth Shaffer then hit a grounder to McGaughey, who fired home for an apparent out, but a sliding Thetga took the glove right off the hand of Flynn (catcher), and she was ruled safe to make it 20-14.

Feeko capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly.

The Lady Redskins would not go quietly, however.

With one out, McGaughey, and freshman Kelsie Noel stroked back-to-back singles, and Lantz was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Garrison brought home two runs with a groundball single into right field to close the gap to 21-16. After Parrish was hit by a pitch — the fifth Sayre batter to be hit by a pitch — to re-load the bases, Flynn hit an RBI single to make it 21-17.

After a wild pitch closed the gap to 21-18, junior Olivia Corbin ripped a line-drive up the middle, but Luther snared it and fired to third base for a game-ending double play.

Thetga had four hits, including a home run and a double, four runs scored, and five RBI, and Luther homered twice, doubled, scored four runs, and had four RBI to pace Tioga at the plate, while Vance singled twice, scored three runs, and drove in two runs, and Shumway singled twice, scored once, and knocked in two runs.

Bidwell singled twice, scored two runs, and drove in one run for the Lady Tigers, while Feeko doubled, scored one run run, and had two RBI, Williamson singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run, Lantz scored three runs, and Shaffer scored one run, and had two RBI.

Garrison doubled and singled, scored two runs, and had five RBI, and Parrish doubled, scored four runs, and had three RBI to lead Sayre at the plate, while Flynn and McGaughey each singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run, and Noel singled and scored one run.

Lantz scored two runs for the Lady Redskins, while Amaya Southworth, Adriana Barnhart, and Mercedez Haggerty each scored one run, and Lindsay Northrup had one RBI.

Tioga improves to 3-0 on the season, while Sayre falls to 1-7.

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IN PHOTO 1: Tioga’s Erin Luther. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.


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