By Patrick Newell
Sun Sports Editor
Greene 1, Afton 0
GREENE – Greene skipper Rick Smith is not allowing himself to think about losing seniors Rebecca Hanrahan, Natalie Greene, and Caitlin Willis, all of whom have been with Smith the past four Midstate Athletic Conference championship games.
That senior trio – and the rest of the Trojans – beat Afton in the league championship game for the third straight year Wednesday afternoon.
In a fast-paced game that took less than 75 minutes to complete, Greene’s single run in the bottom of the first held up as the only scoring. “It was a tight game and it was well played by both teams,” Smith said. “Becca was really strong (with her pitching). She hit her spots and let it fly. It was awesome.”
Hanrahan had few difficult moments in the contest. She struck out 13 and didn’t walk a batter. Still, Afton hung around making several nifty defensive gems, and had the tying and go-ahead run on base in the seventh inning.
Until Ashley Rogalski’s bunt single to lead off the seventh, Afton’s only baserunner of the game came on a second-inning Greene error.
Hanrahan fanned Taylor Briggs for the first out of the inning, and fielded Kate Werth’s ball up the middle. She threw to second base for the force out and the second out of the inning.
Cassidy Phillips, Hanrahan’s counterpart on the ball, then struck a solid groundball to Taylor Ellis at third. Ellis’s throw, though, was wide of Greene at first base, and the error moved each runner up a base.
With Connor Decker at the plate, Hanrahan completed her baker’s dozen of whiffs striking out Decker to end the game.
“The big thing is that we didn’t let that error hurt us,” Smith said. “(The biggest difference) between last year and this year is that our team is split down the middle as far as youth and veterans. I am happy where the young ones have gotten to this point, but we make mistakes. We’ve dealt with them, and we always bounce back.”
Greene managed just three hits off Phillips, and it was Phillips who pitched her club to a victory over Greene earlier this season. Still, the Trojans (15-4) consistently made solid contact, and took advantage of their first scoring opportunity.
Hanrahan drew a two-out walk, and stepped out for pinch-runner, Katelyn Shear. Ellis, who had two hits in the game, ripped a double to centerfield to score Shear.
Afton helped itself on defense with rightfielder Payton Cutting making a running catch of Hanrahan’s line drive to end the third inning. Crimson Knights second baseman Sierra Palmatier played flawlessly as well coming up with a series of fine plays.
“What we talked about with the seniors is going out on top,” Smith said. “They’ve all been such great leaders, and I don’t want to think about next year. I’m going to drag it out as long as I can.”
Score by Innings R H E
Afton 000 000 0 0 1 1
Greene 100 000 x 1 3 2
Rebecca Hanrahan (W) and Gabby Sherwood. Cassidy Phillps (L) and Taylor Briggs. Doubles: (G) Taylor Ellis.
Owego 8, Norwich 1
OWEGO – Owego pitcher Emily Warfle was nearly unhittable Wednesday afternoon in pitching the Indians to a victory over the Purple Tornado Wednesday.
Warfle had 13 strikeouts, and gave up a single hit – a Kat DeTomi single in the fifth – in shutting down NHS. “I’ve been watching (Warfle) for three years, and she’s usually a spin pitcher,” said Norwich coach Scott Moore. “Tonight she threw the most fastballs I’ve seen from her. She brought it tonight, and we had a hard time getting a bat on the ball.”
Owego took advantage of two Norwich errors in the second to score seven runs. Kim Lavender and Becca Bouyea had two-runs singles to key the uprising.
Norwich scored its lone run in the fourth. Shannon Moore’s sacrifice fly plated Molly Moore.
Norwich is at Johnson City today.
NHS 000 100 0 1 1 2
Owg 071 000 x 8 6 0
Emily Warfle (W) and Victoria Young. Jaime Berger (L) and Molly Moore.
Susquehanna Valley 7, Norwich 1
CONKLIN – Susquehanna Valley jumped on Norwich in the early innings, and built a 7-0 lead for winning pitcher Ryan Caraway Wednesday afternoon.
Caraway, the Sabers’ established ace, pitched a complete-game five-hitter striking out eight Norwich batters. “Caraway’s their number one guy, and he did a great job keeping us off balance today,” said Norwich coach John Martinson.
Vince LaMantia had two hits and two RBI for SV, and Josh Swanger added two hits and a single ribbie.