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Tioga County Sports Report
OWEGO — Owego strung together three consecutive multi-run innings while Lauren Gilbert was dominant inside the circle and at the plate as the Indians opened the season with a 12-1 non-league victory over Newark Valley here Saturday.

Gilbert twirled a three-hitter, striking out 15 batters in the process. She aided her own effort with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, driving in three runs in the process.

"I think it all started with Lauren Gilbert," Owego assistant coach Mike Aubel said. "I think in the end she ended up having 13 strikeouts, but more importantly, she didn't have any walks. Unbelievable first performance, first time pitching at the varsity level. She threw great. Of course Saylor Ayers, who is the catcher, it was the two of them.

"We made some pretty good plays early on. There are some things we need to work on, but most importantly, it was getting ahead of batters. She had command. She was able to hit her spots."

It may not have been the result NV was looking for, but the Cardinals are glad to be playing ball again.

"I think the kids enjoyed it," NV coach Jason Monte said. "It's tough. They have a good pitcher. A lot of these kids are moving from modified to varsity, so they've never seen anything like it. They don't play travel softball, so we knew it was going to be tough. We wanted to get some kids in, get them experience and just have fun doing it."

The Indians broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the second inning when Carly Kirtland reached on an error and scored on an error off the bat of Saylor Ayers. Following a walk to Taylor Dalton, Jordan Greeno singled up the middle to score Ayers. Emma Howe would work a walk, then Gilbert delivered a two-run single up the middle to score Dalton and Greeno for a 4-0 lead.

The Owego offense would continue to roll in the third inning as Carly Kirtland walked, Macie Gibson singled to left and Ayers hugged the third base line to plate Kirtland. Next up, Dalton bunted into a fielder's choice, scoring Gibson, then the NV second baseman booted a ball off Greeno's bat to score Ayers and Dalton. Following an error and a single, Sarah Terry drew a base on balls, making the score 9-0.

The Indians would tack on three more runs in the fourth. Gibson led off with a walk then, following an out, Dalton bunted safely and Greeno followed with a base hit. Howe walked with the bases loaded, bringing home Owego's final run of the day for a 12-0 advantage.

"I thought our approach at the plate was pretty good," Aubel said. "We made some adjustments and put the ball in play, got a couple key hits. Lauren, again, smashed at least two that I recall.

"I think we're going to have a pretty good line-up once we get going. We actually got our entire team in, which was 17 kids, so we feel pretty good about that as well. They all contributed. Good approaches at the plate, putting the ball in play with two strikes and executing the bunts when we needed them to."

"They hit the ball well. They've got quite a few travel softball players and you're not going to shoot yourself in the foot like that. You keep it close and it could swing either way, but when you commit eight errors and walk in three runs it's not going to happen.

The Cardinals would erase the goose egg from the scorebook in the sixth. Following a pair of strikeouts, Alli Wandell reached base when the right fielder misjudged her fly ball. She scored after a Hailey Beebe bunt was thrown low and could not be cleanly fielded by the first baseman.

Bri Beebe and Wandell had NV's only hits. Beebe went 2-for-3 and Wandell was 1-for-3.

"Bri Beebe, this is only her third year playing softball, and she hit the ball really well, made some good plays in the outfield. Hayley Beebe as well, quick in the outfield. I think this is her second year ever playing softball, so seeing those guys develop is good. And then Allie Wandell, of course, is going to be solid hitting the ball."

In addition to Gilbert's double trio of hits and RBI, Dalton was 2-for-3 with three runs and an RBI, and Greeno was 2-for-4 with three runs and three RBI. Howe was 1-for-1 with an RBI while drawing three walks. Gibson went 1-for-2 with two runs, Ayers was 1-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, Kirtland scored twice and Terry drove in a run.

Newark Valley hosts Edison Monday and Owego hosts Oneonta Wednesday.


IN PHOTO1: Owego's Taylor Dalton. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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