NTL SOFTBALL: ATHENS PULLS INTO FIRST-PLACE TIE WITH WIN OVER WYALUSING; ADAMS NEW ALL-TIME HITS LEADER FOR LADY 'CATS (17 PHOTOS) (2019-05-09)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — Senior Emma Adams broke the Athens school record for most career base hits here Thursday, and she did it in style.
Adams hit the first pitch she saw from Wyalusing ace Hailey Jayne over the left-center field fence for the first of her three home runs in the game and the 122nd hit of her career, lifting Athens to a 9-4 win and into a first-place tie in the NTL Large School standings.
“Emma (Adams) is one of the hardest working student-athletes I've had the honor to coach,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “Emma would be the first to tell you that breaking this record is awesome, but she would gladly trade it for an NTL Title or a District title.
“She's not only our team leader she is our third coach on the field, and most importantly, she leads by example,” noted Farrell.
“I’m sad because I only got one year with her, but what a memorable year it has been,” added Farrell. “She is hands down best player in the NTL.”
The Lady Rams took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, scoring on a two-out passed ball, but Athens answered quickly.
After Adams tied the game on the first pitch of the home half of the inning, senior Mimi Martin singled, stole second and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Megan Bennett.
With two outs in the second inning, Adams slammed another home run over the left-center field fence to give the Lady Wildcats a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth inning, Madalyn Valeroso tied the game for Wyalusing with a two-run home run, but senior Leah Reid led off the home half of the inning with a solo home run — her fifth of the season — to give Athens a 4-3 lead.
Sophomores Harley Sullivan and Emma Repsher led off the home half of he fifth with back-to-back singles, and Bennett helped her own cause with a one-out, two-run triple to extend the lead to 6-3. Sophomore Aubrey Hatch delivered Bennett home with a two-out RBI single to make it 7-3.
Adams finished off her trifecta by launching the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth over the center-field fence for her fifth home run of the season.
Bennett earned the win for the Lady Wildcats, allowing four runs — two earned — on seven hits, while striking out three and walking two.
“Megan (Bennett) didn't have her best stuff, but throwing with the intensity that she does, and throwing two nights in a row against two quality teams — we wanted keep the ball down in the zone, and let our defense win this game,” said Farrell.
“We had 12 outs via groundouts and only one error — our infield played lights out,” added Farrell.
Adams led the Athens offense with three solo home runs, while Sullivan singled twice and scored one run, and Bennett tripled, scored one run, and had three RBI.
Reid hit a solo home run for the Lady Wildcats, while Martin and Repsher each singled and scored one run, and Hatch singled twice and drove in one run.
Adams broke the record previously held by Nicole Decatur.
Athens (11-3 overall) and Wyalusing (14-3) are both 11-2 in NTL play with two league games remaining to play. Athens hosts North Penn-Liberty Monday, while Wyalusing travels to Wellsboro.
IN PHOTO 1: Athens’ Emma Adams belts her first home run, and record-setting hit. … PHOTOS 1-14 BY TIM BIRNEY. — PHOTO 15: Emma Adams. PHOTO 16: Emma Adams is flanked by assistant coach John Dipio (left) and Mickey Farrell. PHOTO 17: From left: Megan Bennett, Leah Reid, Emma Adams, Mimi Martin, and Haley Barry. … PHOTOS 15-17 COURTESY OF DODIE ADAMS.