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Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER - With improved numbers, including six returning starters from an 11-9 team, and good team chemistry, Tioga baseball coach Kevin Evanek is upbeat heading into the 2024 season.

"Our numbers are good," said Evanek. "We have 12 on varsity, 14 on JVs, and about 20 on modified. It’s good to see.

"I like the chemistry with our guys," he noted. "These guys are fun to be around, and they are good with whatever we ask them to do.

"At our winter workouts this year, we had our best numbers ever," said Evanek. "We have kids excited about playing baseball.

"We also have good versatility, and a lot of guys who can throw innings for us," he added.

Junior Tate MaCauley will be the primary catcher this season, with junior Zac Mumbulo slated to catch when MaCauley is pitching. Freshman Cooper Dember could also see time behind the plate.

Senior Cam Rought will start at first base, with junior Jackson Clark also seeing time there, while sophomore Logan Bellis will man second base, junior Shea Bailey will start at shortstop, and junior Garretty Godfrey gets the starting nod at third base.

Dember could see time at second base as well, and junior Luke Powell will likely see time at third base.

Freshman Jackson Bombard will anchor the outfield in center field, with Powell and Mumbulo starting in the corner outfield spots. Clark, Dember, and first-year senior Ousmane Duncanson will also see time in the outfield.

Senior Jayden Godfrey is currently unavailable with a shoulder injury, but will see time around the diamond when healthy

Evanek has at least seven pitchers he’s comfortable using as the season gets under way.

Bailey is Tioga’s top returning arm, and Bellis, MaCauley, Bombard, Rought, Godfrey, Powell will all see time on the mound as well.

"We have five games scheduled next week — Monday through Friday, so we’re going to need those arms," said Evanek.

While the Tigers return six players from last year’s 11-9 team, there are several varsity newcomers in the fold.

"Our lack of experience at the varsity level is a little bit of a concern," said Evanek.

"We have six returning, but we need the younger guys to fill their roles at the varsity level if we want to get where we want to be at the end of the season," he added.

Evanek said his expectations for 2024 are the same as always.

"Our goals are always the same — win our division, and win an IAC Championship," he said. "I think both of those are definitely within reach.

"Then at Sectionals, we want to go as far as we can, and play for a Sectional championship," added Evanek.


Tioga is in the IAC South Small School Division again this year with Newark Valley, Newfield and Groton.

"Newark Valley is always solid, and won its first game pretty big last week," said Evanek.

"Union Springs is probably the team to beat up North," he added. "They beat us 3-2 in Sectionals last year."

While the boys basketball team was Class B this year, Tioga’s baseball team remains in Class C.

"Trumansburg is always tough, and I think they only lost two seniors from a good team last year," said Evanek. "They are always in the mix in Class C.

"Moravia has a bunch of athletes there with how successful they were in football and basketball," he said. "I know they’ll be really competitive this year.

"Union Springs will be good as well … they have a good program," he noted.

I think we have a good shot," added Evanek.

Tioga opens the 2024 campaign this afternoon at Southern Cayuga.


IN PHOTO: Tioga’s Shea Bailey. … VSR STOCK PHOTO.

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