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NTL SOFTBALL: PERSUN POWERS ATHENS TO 12-2 WIN OVER CANTON (2024-05-14)

Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — Athens scored early and often on its way to a 12-2 five-inning win over Canton here Tuesday afternoon in NTL softball action.

“It was a great way to end our NTL schedule, on a good note with a win,” said Athens coach Brian Wendela. “Maddie Hiley came ready to go, and pitched a real solid game for us.

“It was back-to-back nights, where the girls really showed good discipline at the plate throughout the whole line-up. It’s nice to see some of their hard work equal success.

“It was also Senior Night and our lone senior Ashlyn Vanfleet got us going in the right direction with a big double for an early run,” noted Wendela. “I was happy to see that for her in her last NTL match-up.

“And, Savannah Persun also got her first varsity home run and pieced together some nice at bats,” added Wendela.

After sophomore Maddie Hiley retired the Warriors in order in the top of the first inning, freshman Gretchan Hiley led off the home half of the inning with a single, stole second, and scored on a one-out RBI double by senior Ashlyn VanFleet that gave the Wildcats a quick 1-0 lead.

Four pitches later, junior Savannah Persun drove a pitch over the left-field fence for her first varsity round-tripper to put Athens ahead 3-0.

Maddie Hiley retired Canton in order again in the second, and the Wildcats added to the lead in the bottom of the frame.

Sophomore Danica May led off with a line-drive triple to right field, and scored on an RBI double by junior Gretchen Schmieg to extend the lead to 4-0.

After Gretchan Hiley walked, junior Ella Coyle stroked an RBI single to left field to make it 5-0, and VanFleet followed with a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 6-0.

Persun capped the rally with an RBI groundout to plate Cole to make it 7-0.

Canton got its first base-runner with a lead-off walk in the top of the third, but Maddie Hiley retired the next three batters. Once again, Athens added to its lead in the bottom of the inning.

After freshman Ruby Kocsis reached on an error to lead-off the inning, she scored on a one-out RBI single by Schmieg to extend the lead to 8-0.

After a double by Gretchan Hiley, freshman McKenna Jarvis plated a pair of runs with line-drive double up the middle to make it 10-0.

After an error, Persun capped the rally with a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 11-0.

The Warriors got back-to-back doubles to start the fourth for their first hits, and run of the game to close the gap to 11-1.

Canton added another run in the fifth inning to make it 11-2, but Athens scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth invoke the 10-run “mercy” rule.

Gretchan Hiley had three hits, including a double — one of the Wildcats’ six extra-base hits, and four runs scored, while Schmieg doubled and singled, scored two runs, and had two RBI, VanFleet doubled and singled, scored one run, and drove in one run, and Persun homered, scored one run, and had five RBI in Athens’ 12-hit attack.

Jarvis doubled, scored one run, and had two RBI for the Wildcats, while Coyle signed, scored one run, and knocked in one run, May tripled and scored one run, Maddie Hiley added a single, and Kocsis scored one run.

Maddie Hiley earned the win, allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out nine and walking one in five innings.

Athens improves to 12-7 on the season. This was the last game on the schedule, but Wendela said he is searching for another game prior to the playoffs.

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IN PHOTO:  Athens junior Savannah Persun. … VSR STOCK PHOTO.

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