By: Tim Birney | | March 26, 2021 | Photo courtesy Chris Manning


CANTON — Canton took an early lead with three unearned runs in the home half of the third inning on its way to a season-opening, 4-2, win over Athens here Friday afternoon in NTL baseball action.

After a two-out error kept the inning alive, Weston Bellows walked, and Joel Schoonover ripped a two-RBI double into left field to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead. Carter Route capped capped the rally with a run-scoring single to left field.

The Wildcats responded quickly with a run in the top of the fourth inning, but it could have been a much bigger rally.

Sophomore Lucas Kraft stroked a lead-off single to right field, and junior Tucker Brown and senior Dylan Merritt followed with walks to load the bases. Sophomore Gage Warner knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to trim the Wildcat deficit to 3-1.

With two outs, junior Karter Rude walked to re-load the bases, but Canton’s Cooper Kitchen pitcher registered his second strike out of the inning to end the threat.

Canton added a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Hudson Ward to make it 4-1.

Athens took advantage of four walks in the top of the fifth inning to score one run, but Bellows, on in relief, registered a strikeout to end the bases-loaded jam.

The Warriors loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, but sophomore Mason Lister, on in relief, used a strikeout and an infield pop out to escape the threat unscathed.

In the top of the seventh, Lister was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Kraft followed with a single that sent Lister to third base, and Brown reached on a bunt single to load the bases.

Schoonover enter in relief for the Warriors and struck out the first two batters he faced. The game ended with a play at the plate on a ball that squirted away from the Canton catcher.

The Wildcats, who left 12 runners on base, outhit the Warriors 6-3 in the game.

Kraft led Athens with two hits, while sophomore Cam Sullivan singled and scored one run, and sophomore Jaren Glisson, Brown, and Merritt each added a single. Warner and junior Jared Peterson each had one RBI, and Kaden Setzer scored one run.

Kraft was tagged with the tough-luck loss in his first varsity start. He allowed four runs — one earned — on two hits, while striking out two and walking four in three innings of work.

Lister fanned seven and walked two in three innings of one-hit relief.

Athens returns to action Thursday at Cowanesque Valley.


About the Author

Tim Birney Author Bio
Tim Birney

Tim Birney is the founder / owner of River Road Media Group. He was born and raised in the Valley, graduating from Waverly High School in 1984.

Birney earned an Associate's Degree in Journalism from SUNY Morrisville in 1986 and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism / Public Relations from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1988. He began his newspaper career at The Daily Review in Towanda in 1989, before moving on to The Evening Times in 1995. He spent more than 10 years at the Times, the last four as Managing Editor.

River Road Media Group includes Valley Sports Report (launched Aug. 10, 2009), Tioga County (NY) Sports Report (Aug. 13, 2018), and Northern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 31, 2020). Southern Tier Sports Report is set to launch in 2021.