SECTION IV SOFTBALL: S-VE STRUGGLES EARLY IN LOSS TO GREENE
(2022-05-26)By TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
GREENE — It must have felt like deja vu to those who were here last year as the S-VE softball team’s early struggles haunted the Panthers in an 8-0 Section IV Class C semifinal loss to Greene here Thursday.
In 2021, the Trojans took advantage of five errors and four first-inning runs to eliminate S-VE, 10-0, in the quarterfinals.
This time, the Panthers were guilty of five miscues in the first inning as top-seeded Greene jumped out to a 6-0 advantage after its initial at-bats.
“We gave them seven runs,” S-VE coach Ron Miller said. “It should have been a 1-0 game, against a real good team. You just can't make those many mistakes.
“What did they hit, maybe two hard balls all day. I think they only hit two hard balls. And they’re a good team. We sort of puked on ourselves.”
Like last year, S-VE was its own worst enemy. Trojan pitcher Olivia Kennedy was a thorn in the Panthers’ side once again, striking out 14 and coming within two outs of a no-hitter.
Kennedy retired 14 consecutive batters at one point, retired five straight by strikeout and then six in a row with the “K.”
“Their pitcher’s a helluva pitcher,” Miller said.
Faith Brenchley ended that bid when she dropped a single into shallow right field behind the first baseman.
Kennedy bounced back with a strikeout and the game ended on a fly ball to right. She’s been part of six no-hitters this season (one combined with Yahner), including two perfect games, and has taken part in 14 career no-hitters.
The senior spinner put just four Panthers on base — Brenchley on the hit and a second inning walk, and Raegan Sudnikovich on a walk and Katelyn Klym on a fielder’s choice in the seventh.
Greene did all the damage it needed to in the opening stanza as Kennedy and McKenzie Scott reached on errors to lead off the bottom of the first. Payton Yahner singled and Kylie Ferris laid down a sacrifice bunt, scoring courtesy runner Adreana Romano on a close play at the plate.
The Panthers then committed a trio of infield errors and, grouped with a sacrifice fly and Kennedy’s double, built a 6-0 cushion.
The Trojans challenged again in the second, putting two base-runners on third base. However, Rhiana Lawrence, Klym and Sudnikovich teamed up for a 1-3-2 double play, then Lawrence fanned the next batter to end the threat.
“Rhiana pitched a good game,” Miller said. Lawrence scattered seven hits and recorded five strikeouts. She walked two batters and hit one more.
Greene made it 7-0 in the third on a pair of well-hit balls up the middle, then tacked on one more run in the sixth when Yahner drilled a line drive into the gap in right center, then rounded third and headed home when S-VE threw the relay to third base instead of the plate.
Yahner singled in the fourth, but Sudnikovich fired a rope to shortstop Brenchley to nail her attempting to steal second.
The Trojans stranded one runner in scoring position in the fifth as well.
S-VE finished the season with a 17-5 record. It was the Panthers’ first trip to a sectional semi since 1994.
“Where we started, where we ended, they had a good journey,” Miller said. “I'm real proud of this group of kids because they're not great softball players, but they come every day to practice. They did well.”
Greene (20-0) and ranked second in the state, faces Elmira Notre Dame (18-4), a 6-5 winner over Tioga, in the championship game Saturday. The Trojans have one title to their name while the Crusaders are seeking their 15th.
IN PHOTO 1: S-VE’s Katelyn Klym. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.
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