By: Chris Manning | | April 7, 2021 | Photo courtesy Chris Manning


ATHENS — It’s been an up-and-down start to 2021 for the Athens baseball team, but in its 8-1 win over Towanda on Wednesday, coach Charlie Havens believes things are starting to come together.

“That was by far the best game we’ve played,” he said. “No errors today. You get behind (Mason) Lister with what he was doing today, it made it easy on us.”

Lister went 6 1/3-innings for the win, striking out 10 while allowing four walks, one hit and one earned run. Karter Rude came on for the final two-thirds, striking out one with one walk and a hit.

“He did a lot of work today,” Havens said about Lister, who also had a few putouts from the mound. “And when he’s on the mound, we just have a little bit different energy. We just came to play today.”

Six players had the seven hits for Athens, as Kaden Setzer (2-for-2) with two RBI, and a run scored led the way. Rude (1-for-2), Ben Vough (1-for-2), Cameron Sullivan (1-for-3), Lister (1-for-3) and Kyler Setzer (1-for-2) also had hits.

Rude also had a double with two RBI and a run scored, and Sullivan had a run scored and an RBI. Vough, Lister, Jaren Peterson and Kyler Setzer all scored runs. Lucas Kraft scored a run and knocked one in for Athens as well.

Mason Johnson (1-for-3) and Aaron Bardell (1-for-3) had the two Towanda hits. Bardell had an RBI, and Austin Fowler scored their run.

Octavious Chacona started and went four innings and was tagged with the loss. He struck out seven while allowing two walks, five hits and six runs, four of which were earned.

Ethan Sparrow finished, striking out two with one walk, two hits and two unearned runs.

Nobody scored until the bottom of the second. Lister led off with a single, and Kyler Setzer had a two-out single, followed by a Kaden Setzer, which scored Lister and Kyler Setzer to make it 2-0.

Two batters later, Rude doubled in Kaden Setzer and Peterson for a 4-0 lead.

Towanda would threaten in the top fourth, getting two runners in scoring position with one out, but Lister got a strikeout, then a put out to end the threat.

Athens scored four more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Rude led off with a walk. Vough then singled, advancing Rude to third base.

Rude would score on a Sullivan single for a 5-0 lead. Two batters later, an error off the bat of Kraft scored Vough and Sullivan to make it 7-0.

Three batters later, a two-out double from Kaden Setzter scored Kraft for the 8-0 advantage.

The Knights would get a run in the seventh as Chase Parker walked to lead off the at bat. Three batters later a two-out Bardell singled in Fowler, who was running for Parker, to make it an 8-1 final.

Havens hopes this brings some stability to the team as the Wildcats have had an uneven start to the season.

“We need to keep focusing on our defensive game,” he said. “We need to know what to do with the ball when it’s hit to us. We’ve got a lot to learn, and I think that’s the biggest thing. When we’re consistent defensively we’ll be pretty tough.”

Athens, now 3-2 overall and 2-0 in NTL Large School play, hosts Troy Thursday.