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IAC SOFTBALL: S-VE RALLIES TO TOP TIOGA, 11-9 (24 PHOTOS) (2022-05-09)

By TIM BIRNEY
Tioga County Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — Rhiana Lawrence was at her best in the final two innings, and also knocked in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning in S-VE’s come-from-behind, 11-9, win over Tioga in a key IAC South Small School Divisional softball match-up.

“This is a big win for us,” said S-VE coach Ron Miller. “Now, we need to win tomorrow, and we need Notre Dame to knock (Tioga) off, then it’s a tie and we play them again Wednesday at our place for the division title.”

S-VE scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning to break a 3-3 tie, but Tioga answered with six runs in the home half of the frame to take a 9-7 lead.

The Lady Panthers scored one run in the top of the sixth to close the gap to 9-8, then took the lead with three runs in the seventh. Lawrence, meanwhile, shut down Tioga’s bats in its final two at-bats.

“We got some big hits late,” said Miller. “And,  (Lawrence) pitched real good the last couple innings. She threw strikes, and we made the plays behind her.

“I’m super-proud of this team,” added Miller. “We didn’t quit … we hung in there.”

The win avenges a 7-1 home loss to Tioga last week.

“The first time we played them, we just didn’t swing,” said Miller. “We went through a stretch where we didn’t hit, now we’re starting to swing a little bit.

“I changed our line-up around a little bit, moved the girls around a little bit,” he noted.

“(Kaili Root) got two hits today — and a huge hit early in the game,” added Miller.

Lawrence hit the first pitch of the game into left field for a single, stole second, and scored on a two-out RBI single by Hannah Martinez.

With the bases loaded, Kaili Root hit a perfectly-placed two-run single into short left field to make it 3-0.

Tioga trimmed the deficit with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Abby Foley slapped a single into left field, advanced to second on a sacrifice by RaeAnne Feeko, and scored on a bloop RBI single to right field by M.J. Thetga.

In the third inning, Thetga ripped a two-RBI triple over the right fielder’s head to tie the game at 3-3.

“We made some good pitches on (Thetga), and she still ripped the ball all over the field,” said Miller.

In the top of the fifth, Raegan Sudnikovich and Katelyn Klym led off with singles, and Faith Brenchley reached on an error to load the bases.

Martinez stroked an RBI single to left field to give the Lady Panthers the lead, and Hannah Smith worked a walk to force home a run to make it 5-3.

After Root knocked home a run with a fielder’s choice ground out, the Lady Panthers scored another run on a dropped fly ball, but made the final out at the plate.

Tioga answered quickly, with back-to-back singles by Molly Bombard and Abby Foley to start the rally. With one out, Thetga ripped an RBI single to trim the deficit to 7-4.

After Erin Luther reached base on a fielder’s choice to load the bases, senior Julia Bellis lined a two-run single to right field to close the gap to 7-6.

Austyn Vance followed with a towering blast into deep center field for a two-RBI triple to give the Lady Tigers an 8-7 lead. Moments later, Vance scooted home on a wild pitch to make it 9-7.

Brenchley’s sacrifice fly pulled S-VE within a run, at 9-8, in the top of the sixth.

In the top of the seventh, Root reached second base on an error, and advanced to third base on a groundout.

With the infield on the move after a fake bunt, Sophia Dutra tied the game with a slap single into right filed.

Lawrence followed with an RBI double to give S-VE a 10-9 lead, and Sudnikovich added an insurance run with a line-drive RBI single to extend the lead to 11-9.

Thetga led off the home half of the inning with a single, but courtesy-runner Gabby Foley was stranded there as Lawrence retired the next three batters.

Lawrence and Sudnikovich each had two hits, two runs scored, and one RBI, while Martinez singled twice, scored one run, and drove in two runs, and Klym doubled and singled, and scored one run to pace S-VE’s 11-hit attack.

Branchy singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run in the win, while Root singled, scored one run, and had three RBI, Dutra singled, scored one run, and knocked in one run, and Smith scored one run and drove in one run.

Lawrence earned the win, allowing nine runs — eight earned — on nine hits, while striking out 11 and walking just one in seven innings.

Thetga was 4-for-4 with a triple and three RBI to lead Tioga at the plate, while Abby Foley had two hits and three runs scored, Vance tripled, scored one run, and drove in two runs, Bellis singled, scored one run, and knocked in two runs, Bombard singled and scored two runs, and Erin Luther and Gabby Foley each crossed the plate once.

Alissa Hine was tagged with the loss for Tioga, allowing 11 runs — seven earned — on 11 hits, while striking out four and walking four in seven innings.

Tioga, now 10-2, returns to action Tuesday at Notre Dame, while S-VE, now 13-2, travels to Edison.

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IN PHOTO 1: S-VE’s Raegan Sudnikovich. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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