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IAC SOFTBALL: CANDOR RALLIES FROM 8 DOWN TO DEFEAT O-M (10 PHOTOS) (2019-04-24)

Tioga County Sports Report
CANDOR — When their backs were against the wall, the Candor Indians stepped up to meet the challenge. Trailing by eight runs after 3 1/2 innings, Candor rallied to defeat Odessa-Montour, 9-8, in extra innings here Wednesday.

The Indians came into the game a half-game behind O-M and Marathon and were one out away from slipping further behind in the IAC Division 1 race when they fell behind, 8-0, heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.

“We were down … and came back, just kept fighting back,” said Candor head coach Steve Frye.

Trailing 8-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Anna Greeno reached second following a walk and a steal, and Asia Curkendall stepped to the plate and hit an 0-1 pitch over the right fielder’s head for an inside-the-park home run.

Kaitlyn Edwards followed with a soft, low blooper that hit the ground just out of reach of the O-M shortstop and skipped off her glove. Edwards would steal second and third, then tie the game on Emily Hopkins’ double.

“She was losing a little control, so we were taking advantage of that,” Frye said of O-M pitcher Grace Vondracek. “Then  we got a couple big hits. Asia’s big home run was nice. Jennah hit the ball. Everybody did their part. It was a great game, a great comeback.”

Reserve pitcher Shelby Swartz would retire the side in the top of the eighth. In the Candor half of the inning, Addie Aman would get hit by a pitch, then steal second. Moments later, as she was stealing third, the catcher threw the ball wide of the third baseman and Aman raced home to give the Indians the win.

“She missed the steal sign because she was too busy talking to everybody else and then she finally saw it and just ran,” chuckled Frye. “It was good. She did her job. We ran well all night. We had no problem getting our bases.”

The Indians finished the game with six extra-base hits and six stolen bases.

However, Candor wasn’t faring so well during the early innings. Only two of the first 11 batters reached base safely — Searra Allen and Aman with singles in the second and third innings, respectively.

Odessa only put two runners on base in the first two innings, including a Vondracek triple in the first inning that would fail to score, but O-M would get rolling in the third. An error and a hit batter set up a two-run double by McKenna Lott and an RBI double by Vondracek, and Vondracek would also score to make it 4-0 in favor of O-M.

The visitors would tack on four more runs in the fourth on four singles and a pair of walks. Raven Lott walked, Dezirae Minnier and McKenna Lott singled, Vondracek walked, and Lydia Lynch and Madisyn Wells singled.

Down 8-0, Candor picked up a run in its half of the fourth on a Jennah Kareem homer, then added another in the fourth when Henry tripled and scored on Kareem’s two-out single.

The Indians thwarted a threat in the fifth after O-M loaded the bases on an error, walk and single. Third baseman Allen fielded a pop fly and alertly stepped on the bag to catch the runner off base for an inning-ending double play.

After stranding the O-M leadoff hitter in scoring position in the sixth, the Candor bats responded in the bottom of the frame. Curkendall singled, Edwards smacked an RBI double, Henry walked and Aman belted a two-run double, closing the gap to 8-5.

The comeback showed the youthful Candor squad’s desire to succeed.

“It says a lot,” Frye said. “Most of them are young. There’s only a couple of old kids. The young kids are excited and want to play hard, and they’re doing the things, they’re listening, making the play when they have to. We played very well defensively toward the end.

“The beginning of the game was a little shaky. We came back and we held our own, and held our serve and scored one. Cheesy, but good.”

Candor pumped out 10 hits on the night. Curkedall and Henry each went 2-for-3, and Aman and Kareem were both 2-for-4. Allen and Edwards added one hit apiece.

Candor improves to 7-2 while O-M slips to 7-3.

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IN PHOTO 1: Candor’s Addie Aman scores the winning run. … PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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