ATHENS HOLDS OFF TROY, 14-9

ATHENS HOLDS OFF TROY, 14-9

April 8, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens raced out to a 13-1 lead, thanks in large part to a nine-run third inning, then held on for a 14-9 win over Troy here Thursday afternoon in NTL Large School baseball action.

Troy struck first, scoring a run in the top of the first inning. Caleb Binford led off the game with a single, and later scored on a dropped third strike with two outs that allowed Jake Dietrick to reach base.

The Wildcats answered immediately. Junior Karter Rude singled to lead off the home half of the first inning, and sophomore Jaren Glisson followed with a walk. With one out, sophomore Mason Lister ripped a two-run double to left field to put Athens ahead 2-1.

With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, senior Ben Vough scampered home on a dropped third strike that allowed Glisson.

Sophomore Lucas Kraft and senior Kyler Setzer led off the home half of the third inning with singles, and junior Kaden Setzer stroked a line-drive RBI single to left field to make it 4-1.

A pair of walks, sandwiched around a wild pitch, gave Athens a 5-1 lead. With one out, Glisson stroked a two-run single up the middle to extend the lead to 7-1, and sophomore Cameron Sullivan followed three pitches later with a two-RBI single to left field.

The Wildcats added runs on a fielder’s choice grounder of the bat of Kyler Setzer, and RBI single by Kaden Setzer, and a passed ball to extend the lead to 12-1 after three innings.

Sullivan, the Athens starter, pitched around a double in the fourth inning, and junior Tucker Brown stroked an RBI single to score Rude, who led off the inning with a single, to make it 13-1.

Sullivan retired the first two batters in the top of the fifth, and was one out away from ending the game via the 10-run “mercy” rule, but the Trojans’ offense roared to life and scored five runs on five consecutive hits and an error.

Sullivan retired the side in order in the sixth, and the first batter in the seventh inning, but Troy put together three straight hits, and Rude was brought on in relief.

A pair of walks and a wild pitch brought home two Trojan runners in the top of the seventh inning, but Rude induced a groundball to Cameron, who moved from the mound to shortstop, to end the game.

Sullivan had two hits, two runs scored, and two RBI, and Rude had two hits, two runs scored, and four stolen bases to lead the Wildcats’ 12-hit attack, while Lister doubled and singled, scored one ru, and drove in two runs, and Kaden Setzer singled twice, scored one run, and had two RBI.

Glisson and Kyler Setzer each singled, scored two runs, and drove in two runs in the win, while Brown singled and drove in one run, Kraft singled and scored one run, and Vough and senior Tanner Dildine each crossed the plate once.

Sullivan earned his first varsity win, allowing eight runs — seven earned — on 11 hits, while striking out three and walking none. Rude walked two and allowed an unearned run in two-thirds of an inning on the mound.

Morgan Madigan had three hits, including a pair of doubles, two runs scored, and three RBI to lead the Trojans at the plate.

Athens, now 4-2, returns to action Monday at Wellsboro.

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ATHENS PUTS IT TOGETHER IN 8-1 WIN OVER TOWANDA

ATHENS PUTS IT TOGETHER IN 8-1 WIN OVER TOWANDA

April 7, 2021 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.

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ATHENS CONTINUES HOT HITTING IN 19-9 WIN OVER TOWANDA; IMPROVES TO 5-0

ATHENS CONTINUES HOT HITTING IN 19-9 WIN OVER TOWANDA; IMPROVES TO 5-0

April 7, 2021 Chris Manning

ATHENS — It was a hitter’s type of day as Athens stayed unbeaten, topping Towanda, 19-9, in five innings during NTL Large School Division softball action Tuesday.

“I never thought it was going to happen,” said coach Mickey Farrell. “Again our bats were on fire here. It’s the same old, same old; our defense has got to get better, and we can not be walking 7-8-9 hitters, and we’re doing that a lot.

“But to be undefeated at this point, how can you not be happy?”

The Wildcats used a 10-run first inning to take a 10-2 lead, then simply went back and forth with Towanda from there on out.

Caydence Macik (2-for-3) had a home run, double, two runs scored and two RBI for the Wildcats, while Audrey Hatch (2-for-4), Aliyah Butler (2-for-3) and Macie Coyle (2-for-4) all had multi-hit games. Hatch had three runs scored with an RBI, Butler crossed home three times, and Coyle had a double with two runs and three RBI.

Harley Sullivan (1-for-3) and Mallory Mummert (1-for-2) each scored three times and  had two RBI, while Addy Repsher (1-for-3) and Megan Collins (1-for-3) both scored and Megan Collins also had an RBI. Carlie Simpson (1-for-1) had an RBI, with Ashlyn VanFleet knocking in two runs while also scoring.

Macik got the win, striking out one with eight walks.

Lizzy Matera (3-for-3) and Maddie Maynard (3-for-3) led Towanda. Maynard had a double with two runs, and Matera scored one run.

Jocelyn Bennett (2-for-4) and Athena Chacona (2-for-2) also had multi-hit games with Chacona adding a double.

Shaylee Greenland (1-for-2), Paige Perry (1-for-2) and Saige Greenland (1-for-2) also had hits. Shaylee Greenland doubled and scored two runs, and Perry and Saige Greenland both scored. Brea Overpeck crossed home twice as well.

Maynard gets the loss, striking out three with eight walks.

Towanda started off strong as Chacona hit a two-out double to put the Knights up 2-0.

In the bottom half of the inning, though, Athens batted around. At one point seven straight batters came around to score. Macik punctuated the rally with a two-out home run to right field, avenging a strikeout from earlier in the inning.

Towanda didn’t lie down, though, as Shaylee Greenland led off the next inning with a single and eventually scored, cutting it to 10-3.

The Wildcats would add on with a two-out rally in the second inning, as Coyle reached on an error, followed by Sullivan getting a single and Hatch doubling. All three would end up scoring in the inning to make it 13-3 Athens.

In the bottom of the third, the Wildcats went up 15-3 as Butler and Mummert led off with back-to-back walks. After two outs were record, Coyle doubled them in.

Towanda came back in the top of the fourth, scoring four runs. Saige Greenland started the rally with a one-out walk. Two batters later, Matera and Overpeck drew walks, setting the table for Maynard, who doubled all three in. She would later score on a Chacona single to cut it to 15-7.

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ATHENS SOFTBALL PROGRAM DONATES $1,600 TO VALLEY FOOD PANTRY

ATHENS SOFTBALL PROGRAM DONATES $1,600 TO VALLEY FOOD PANTRY

April 7, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — The Athens softball program, coached by Mickey Farrell, recently presented the Valley Food Pantry with a donation of $1,600 as part of its annual team fundraising efforts.

“It was a fundraiser for our team, but we split the money raised 50 / 50 with the Valley Food Pantry,” said Farrell.

The varsity and JV team members did several fund-raising activities, including one at the Valley Bowling Center.

“The girls got  people to sponsor them either by flat fee or cents per pin and then we bowled three games. It was a lot of fun, and the Valley Bowling Center, which was one of our sponsors, was a wonderful host,” said Farrell.

Farrell also thanked the other corporate sponsors: The Grille, Reese’s Family Restaurant, Bimbo Bakeries, and Apothecary of Mary .

Farrell said the idea of donating to the Valley Food Pantry this year came from one of his players.

“Last year, we donated $700 to the Wounded Warrior Amputee softball team out of Virginia Beach,” he said. “This year. we wanted to help our community.

“One of my seniors suggested the Valley Food Pantry, because The Rusty Rail Game usually donates to it, but with Covid this year, there wasn’t much done in terms of collecting food items,” added Farrell.

The Athens varsity softball roster consists of Megan Collins, Harley Sullivan, Aubrey Hatch, Mallory Mummert, Carlie Simpson, Macie Coyle, Aliyah Butler, Addy Repsher, Caydence Macik,   Ashlyn VanFleet, Mackenzie Morgan, Marissa Butler, Alli Thoman, and Braelyn Wood.

The junior varsity roster consists of Kaylee Peterson, Destiney Henderson, Haley Schultz, Abby Champion, Ciara Devine, Cailin McDaniel, and Jillian Bradley.

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ATHENS WIN SLUGFEST AT COW. VALLEY, 18-10

ATHENS WIN SLUGFEST AT COW. VALLEY, 18-10

April 5, 2021 Tim Birney

WESTFIELD, Pa. — Sophomores Lucas Kraft and Jaren Glisson, and senior Kyler Setzer combined for 11 hits and 11 RBI to lead Athens to an 18-10 win over Cowanesque Valley here Monday afternoon in NTL baseball action.

There were a lot of offensive fireworks in the early innings.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Indians answered with seven runs in the home half of the second inning, but Athens answered with seven runs in the top of the third to take a 10-7 lead.

Leading 11-8, Athens pushed five runs across the plate in the top of the sixth inning to take a commanding 16-8 lead.

Sophomore Lucas Kraft had four hits, including a double, two runs scored, and six RBI, and sophomore Jaren Glisson stroked four singles, scored two runs, and knocked in one run to pace Athens’ 18-hit attack, and senior Kyler Setzer had three hits, including two doubles, two stolen bases, and four RBI.

Junior Karter Rude banged out a pair of doubles, scored two runs, and drove in one run in the win, while sophomore Cameron Sullivan singled twice, scored one run, and knocked in two runs, Dylan Merritt singled and scored two runs, junior Tucker Brown singled and scored one run, junior Kaden Setzer singled and drove in one run, and sophomore Mason Lister scored three runs.

Kraft earned the win in relief. He allowed three runs on three hits, while striking out five and walking five in 5 1/3 innings.

McGuire Painter and Tucker St. Pierre had two hits and three RBI apiece to lead CV at the plate.

Athens, now 2-2, hosts Towanda Tuesday.

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ATHENS EDGES CV, 14-13, IN 8 INNINGS

ATHENS EDGES CV, 14-13, IN 8 INNINGS

April 5, 2021 Tim Birney

WESTFIELD, Pa. — Senior Audrey Hatch delivered the game-winning hit, and sophomore Addy Repsher preserved the win with a defensive gem here Monday afternoon in Athens’ wild, 14-13, eight-inning win over Cowanesque Valley in NTL softball action.

“It was a crazy back-and-forth game,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “It was exciting.

“Twice, the bottom of our line-up — Mallory Mummert, Ashlyn VanFleet, and Macie Coyle — turned it over to the top of our line-up, and our top four hitters did what they were suppose to do,” noted Farrell.

“I told (the bottom of the order) this win was as much them, as it was the top of our order,” added Farrell, noting the top four hitters combined for 12 hits, nine runs scored, and 12 RBI.

With two outs in the top of the eighth inning, a hustling Coyle beat out a grounder to shortstop that was mishandled. Senior Harley Sullivan singled to advance Coyle to third base, and Hatch plated her with a single.

In the bottom of the inning, junior Caydence Macik, in her second inning of relief, struck out the first batter, but then gave up singles to the eight and nine hitters — Autumn Outman and Keyana Thomas.

CV lead-off hitter Katie Adams then ripped a line drive toward right field, but a leaping Repsher at first base, snared the liner and tagged the runner coming back to the bag for the game-ending double play.

“That was a really nice, heads-up play by Addy,” said Farrell. “It was a great play.”

Athens took a quick 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning in a rally that featured an RBI single by Macik and a two-run home run by Repsher.

Cowanesque Valley, however, answered with five runs in the home half of the first. Makayla Vargeson provided the key hit with a three-run home run — the first of two long balls in the contest.

The Lady Indians scored two runs in the second and another in the third to take an 8-5 lead.

“They shut us down until the sixth inning … keeping it close was the key,, though” said Farrell. “I feel if we keep it close, we can come back on anybody.”

Athens scored twice in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Macik and an RBI single by Repsher, but Vargeson’s two-run homer in the home half of the inning pushed the lead back to 10-7.

Mummert led off the top of the seventh inning with a single, and VanFleet and Coyle worked walks, sandwiched around an out, to load the bases for the top of the line-up.

Sullivan ripped a two-run double to trim the deficit to 10-9, and Hatch tied the game with an RBI single. Macik then drove a 3-1 pitch over the fence to give the Lady Wildcats a 13-10 lead.

“(Caydence) Macik hit a bomb — I think it’s still going,” said Farrell.

The bottom of the CV line-up answered as Thomas belted a two-run triple to trim the lead to 13-12, and Adams delivered an RBI single to tie the game.

Hatch stroked four singles, scored three runs, and drove in two runs, Macik had three hits, including a home run, two runs scored and four RBI, and Sullivan had three hits, including a double, three runs scored, and three RBI to lead Athens’ 16-hit attack.

Repsher homered and singled, scored once, and drove in three runs in the win, while sophomore Aliyah Butler singled twice, Mummert singled and scored one run, Coyle doubled and scored two runs, and Ali Thoman crossed the plate once.

Macik earned the win for Athens, pitching two innings of shutout ball. She allowed three hits, and struck out two.

“Caydence did an awesome job,” said Farrell. “She wasn’t warmed up at all, and came in and threw strikes.

“She earned the start tomorrow against Towanda — it’s a big game for us,” Farrell added.

While Athens is off to a 4-0 start, Farrell said his team is not clicking on all cylinders.

“We can score with anyone,” he said. “Defensively, however, we’re not playing with enough urgency. I think at times we’re unsure what to do with the ball, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact we’ve had two practices outside.

“We’re where we need to be hitting-wise, but we still have a long ways to go defensively.”

Farrell also had words of praise for Cowanesque Valley.

“(CV coach Mike Vargeson) does a nice job,” said Farrell. “That teams is one of the best two-strike approach teams I’ve ever seen. They put the ball in play almost every time we had them 0-2, or 1-2.

“There’s no doubt in my mind, (CV) will win the NTL Small School Division. They just have too much hitting.

“And, (Makayla) Vargeson is going to be in the hunt for league MVP,” added Farrell. “She is really good.”

Athens returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Towanda.

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EARLY OUTBURST PROPELS SAYRE TO 16-1 WIN OVER ATHENS

EARLY OUTBURST PROPELS SAYRE TO 16-1 WIN OVER ATHENS

April 3, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — After having three games postponed over the last eight days, Sayre finally got on the field for its 2021 season-opener, and wasted little time in finding its stride, scoring eight first-inning runs on the way to a 16-1 four-inning win over Athens in NTL baseball action.

“We played pretty good for our first game, but it's only one game and got some cleaning up to do,” said Sayre coach Jamie VanDuzer. “I’m very thankful we were able to finally play a game.”

Senior Jake Burgess reached base on an error to lead off the game, and scored on a one-out RBI double by sophomore Lucas Horton in his first varsity at-bat.

Lucas Horton scored an RBI single by junior David Northrup to make it 2-0. After a single by senior Zach Moore, back-to-back walks to sophomore Zach Garrity and junior Kannon VanDuzer to force home a run.

Junior Mason Houseknecht delivered a two-run single to make it 5-0, and junior Brady Horton capped the rally with a two-RBI double. In between, the Redskins plated a run on an error.

“We had some very good at bats,” said VanDuzer. “We didn't chase many pitches.

“We also got some help,” added VanDuzer. “They gave a couple extra outs early in the game.”

Sayre upped its lead to 9-0 with an unearned run in the top of the second inning.

Athens answered with its only run in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Mason Lister worked a lead-off walk, and scored on singles by sophomore Lucas Kraft, and senior Kyler Setzer.

The Redskins added five runs in the third inning, the first two coming on an error, and the last three on a three-run home run by VanDuzer to make it 14-1.

Sayre tacked on two more in the top of the fourth — the first on an error, and the second on a balk.

Northrup earned the win for the Redskins. He allowed one run on two hits, while striking out six and walking two. Moore pitched a perfect inning of relief.

“David Northrup pitched well and was ahead in counts from the get-go,” said VanDuzer.

Lucas Horton doubled twice, scored three runs, and drove in one run, while Moore singled twice and scored two runs, and VanDuzer homered, scored two runs, and had four RBI to lead Sayre’s nine-hit attack.

Burgess singled and scored three runs in the win, while Northrup singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run Brayden Horton doubled, scored one run, and drove in two runs, Houseknecht singled, scored one run, and had two RBI, and Garrity scored two runs.

Setzer singled and drove in one run, and Kraft singled to account for Athens’ two hits.

Sayre returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Canton in a key early-season NTL Small School Division showdown, while Athens, now 1-2, travels to Cowanesque Valley Monday.

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ATHENS ROLLS TO 14-1 WIN OVER SAYRE

ATHENS ROLLS TO 14-1 WIN OVER SAYRE

April 3, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Sayre scored first, but Athens answered with a flurry of runs on its way to a 14-1 four-inning win here Saturday afternoon in NTL softball action.

Madison Smith reached base on an error to lead off the top of the first inning for Sayre, and scored on a two-out RBI double by Hailey McCaig — the Lady Redskins’ only hit of the game.

Harley Sullivan led off the home half of first with a double. It was the first of five hits in a six-run rally that gave the Lady Wildcats a 6-1 lead.

Athens starter Aliyah Butler shut down Sayre in the second and third inning, allowing only a walk to Smith in the top of the third.

In the bottom of the third, Butler rapped a pair of doubles, the second one driving in two runs, and courtesy-runner Alli Thoman scored a pair of runs, and Mallory Mummert tripled and doubled and knocked in two runs.

In all, Athens scored seven runs on nine hits in the frame to extend its lead to 13-1.

Butler earned the win for the Lady Wildcats, allowing an unearned run on one hit, while striking out three and walking one in three innings of work. Addy Repsher pitched one inning of shutout relief, striking out one and walking two.

Butler also led Athens at the plate. She was 3-for-3 with two doubles, and three RBI, while Mummert tripled and doubled, scored two runs, and drove in two runs, and Repsher singled twice, scored two runs, and knocked in two runs in the Lady Wildcats’ 16-hit attack.

Sullivan doubled twice, and scored one run in the win, while Audrey Hatch singled twice, scored one run, and drove in one run, Ashlyn VanFleet singled twice, scored one run, and had two RBI, and Caydence Macik singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run.

Megan Collins doubled and drove in one run for the Lady Wildcats, while Braelyn Wood singled, Thoman scored three runs, and Devine crossed the plate once.

Athens, now 3-0, returns to action Monday at Cowanesque Valley, while Sayre (0-1) hosts Canton Tuesday.

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ATHENS STARTS FAST IN 12-2 WIN OVER TROY; FIRST WINS FOR HAVENS, LISTER

ATHENS STARTS FAST IN 12-2 WIN OVER TROY; FIRST WINS FOR HAVENS, LISTER

March 30, 2021 Tim Birney

EAST TROY — Athens scored eight runs in the top of the first inning, and sophomore Mason Lister tossed three no-hit innings to earn his first varsity win in a 12-2 five-inning decision over Troy here Tuesday afternoon in NTL Large School baseball action.

The win was also the first career varsity win for first-year Athens coach Charlie Havens, who spent 20 years (18 at Waverly and two at Corning) as a JV coach.

“I felt like we let one get away from us last week at Canton,” said Havens. “To come back and get that first win out of the way feels pretty good.”

Junior Karter Rude led off the game with a single, and sophomore Jaren Glisson worked a walk. Consecutive wild pitches gave Athens a quick 1-0 lead, and left Glisson at third base.

After a walk to sophomore Cam Sullivan, Lister ripped an RBI double to make it 2-0. Moments later, sophomore Lucas Kraft stroked an RBI single to up the lead to 3-0.

Consecutive walks to junior Kyler Setzer, senior Ben Vough and junior Josiah Stringham forced home two runs to make it 5-0. Rude stroked a two-run single push the lead to 7-0, and Lister capped the rally with an RBI single.

“We really came out swinging and we were aggressive on the base paths,” said Havens. “It was good to get guys moving, and see what we could do.

“We hit the ball really well, especially in that first inning, then we tacked on a few runs throughout the game,” he added.

The Wildcats added a run in the second and two more to extend the lead to 11-0.

Meanwhile, Lister fanned seven and walked four in three innings of no-hit ball.

“He’s thrown six innings of one-hit ball so far this year,” said Havens.

“As the game goes on, and the more pitches he throws, he gets stronger, and really starts pounding the strike zone,” added Havens. “He’s been really good for us.”

Lister has struck out 14 and walked six in six innings this season.

Rude singled twice, scored two runs, and drove in two runs to lead Athens at the plate, while Lister doubled, scored one run, and knocked in two runs, and Kraft singled, scored run, and had one RBI.

Kyler Setzer scored three runs in the win, while Vough had two RBI and one runs scored, Glisson scored two runs, Stringham scored one run and drove in one run, and Sullivan crossed the plate once.

Glisson allowed one run on two hits, while striking out two in one inning of relief, and Rude allowed an unearned run on two hits, with two strikeouts and one walk.

Athens, now 1-1, returns to action Monday at Cowanesque Valley in a game that was originally scheduled for Thursday.

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BUTLER EARNS FIRST VARSITY WIN; ATHENS BLANKS TROY, 13-0

BUTLER EARNS FIRST VARSITY WIN; ATHENS BLANKS TROY, 13-0

March 30, 2021 Tim Birney

EAST TROY — Sophomore Aliyah Butler earned her first varsity win in her first varsity start, pitching a two-hitter to lead Athens to a 13-0 win over Troy here Tuesday afternoon in NTL Large School softball action.

“Tonight was all about Aliyah (Butler),” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “She was impressive in her first varsity start.”

Butler struck out seven and walked one, while allowing just a pair of singles.

“(Catcher) Harley (Sullivan) called a really good game,” said Farrell. “She had (Butler) moving the ball all over the place.”

The Lady Wildcats jumped out to a quick lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. Audrey Hatch drove in the first run with an RBI single, Addy Repsher added an RBI single, and Ashlyn VanFleet knocked home a run with an RBI groundout.

Athens put the game away with six runs in the top of the second to take a 9-0 lead.

Caydence Macik and VanFleet collected RBIs with bases-loaded walks to extend the lead to 5-0.

Butler helped her own cause with a three-run double, and scored moments later on an RBI single by Mallory Mummert.

Athens played a bit of long ball in the fifth inning. Mummert led off the frame with a home run, and Hatch capped the rally with a three-run shot to make it 13-0.

“We hit the ball hard today,” said Farrell. “We hit two home runs again … Mallory Mummert crushed one, (Audrey) Hatch hit her second one, and Aliyah helped her own cause with a bases-loaded double.

“We left 12 runners on base (at Canton), but that wasn’t the case tonight,” noted Farrell. “We only left three runners on base, so we did a much better job.

“All week, we stressed putting the ball in play, and making the defense work,” he added. “Tonight, it worked.”

Hatch led Athens at the plate with a home run, a double, three runs scored, and four RBI, while Mummert homered and singled, scored one run, and drove in two runs, and Butler doubled, scored one run, and had three RBI.

Harley Sullivan singled and scored three runs in the win, while Megan Collins singled twice and scored one run, Macie Coyle singled and scored one run, Repsher singled and drove in one run, VanFleet had two RBI and one run scored, and Macik crossed the plate twice.

The Lady Wildcats, who entered the season with very little experience, are off to a 2-0 start.

“As a coaching staff, we’re thrilled to be 2-0, but we know we still have a lot of work to do,” said Farrell.

Athens returns to action Monday at Cowanesque Valley in a game that was originally scheduled for Thursday.

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CANTON HOLDS OFF ATHENS, 4-2, IN SEASON-OPENER

CANTON HOLDS OFF ATHENS, 4-2, IN SEASON-OPENER

March 26, 2021 Tim Birney

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.

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ATHENS BANGS OUT 10-8 SEASON-OPENING WIN OVER CANTON

ATHENS BANGS OUT 10-8 SEASON-OPENING WIN OVER CANTON

March 26, 2021 Tim Birney

CANTON — Athens banged out 20 hits, and held off a late Canton rally to post a 10-8 season-opening win here Friday afternoon in NTL softball action.

With the 2020 season canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was the first game for the Lady Wildcats since May 24, 2019 — a 3-2 loss to Bloomsburg in the District 4, Class AAA quarterfinals.

“It was nice to get back out there,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “The atmosphere was electric, everybody was happy to be playing.

“I’m just glad the kids got a chance to play. We had a lot of fun,” he added. “To get the win was just icing on the cake.”

With a large group of sophomores and freshmen on the roster, the Lady Wildcats entered the game with little varsity experience.

“It’s good to get this first win, especially with a team that I had no idea about how it would respond, but the intensity level was there,” said Farrell. “The girls came out and played hard.”

Athens jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on RBI singles by junior Caydence Macik, sophomore Addy Repsher, and senior Mallory Mummert.

Canton answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the inning to trim the deficit to 3-2.

Senior Megan Collins slugged a two-RBI double in the top of the third to make it 5-2. The Lady Warriors again answered with two runs to slice the lead to 5-4.

In the top of the fourth, senior Audry Hatch ripped a lead-off solo home run, freshman Ashley VanFleet added an RBI single, and Collins drove in a run with a groundout to make it 8-4.

The Lady Wildcats tacked on a run in the top of the fifth inning to make it 9-4.

Canton scored four times in the home half of the sixth, but Macik, on in relief of Repsher, stranded the would-be tying run at third base.

Junior Macie Coyle belted a lead-off double in the top of the seventh inning, and scored on a one-out RBI single by Hatch to give Athens a 10-8 lead.

The Lady Warriors threatened in the bottom of the seventh, but Hatch threw a runner out at the plate, and Macik ended the game with a strikeout to strand runners at first and second.

“Our bats won the game today, there’s no doubt about that,” said Farrell. “A lot of girls got their first varsity hits today.”

Repsher, VanFleet, Mummert, Coyle, and senior Carlie Simpson all collected their first career hits.

Hatch had three hits, including a home run, scored two runs, and drove in two runs, while Collins had three hits, including a double, and three RBI, Repsher had three hits, one run scored, and one RBI, and senior Harley Sullivan stroked three singles and scored one run to pace Athens at the plate.

Macik and VanFleet each had two hits, two runs scored and one RBI in the win, while Mummert singled twice, scored one run, and drove in one run, Coyle doubled, scored one run, and knocked in one run, and Simpson added a single.

Repsher earned the win for the Lady Wildcats, allowing seven runs on nine hits, while striking out four and walking seven in 5 1/3 innings of work.

Macik recorded the save, allowing one run on two hits, while striking out three and walking two in 1 2/3 innings in the circle.

“The reason this team is going to be successful is versatility; we have a number of girls that can play three or four positions,” said Farrell. “When we made the pitching change in the sixth inning, we made five line-up changes; that doesn’t happen on every team.”

Athens returns to action Thursday at Cowanesque Valley.

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ATHENS' BRADLEY NAMED NTL 'WRESTLER OF THE YEAR;' FIVE TEAMMATES EARN SECOND-TEAM ALL-STAR HONORS

ATHENS' BRADLEY NAMED NTL 'WRESTLER OF THE YEAR;' FIVE TEAMMATES EARN SECOND-TEAM ALL-STAR HONORS

March 24, 2021 Tim Birney

Athens junior Gavin Bradley racked up a 40-2 record, was a PIAA runner-up at 113 pounds this season, and has earned the distinction of NTL “Wrestler of the Year” in recent voting by the league’s coaches.

Bradley was the lone Wildcat named to the first team, but five of his teammates — freshman Mason Vanderpool, sophomore Jake Courtney, juniors Kaden Setzer and Karter Rude, and senior Zach Stafursky — were named to the second team.

On his way to a state silver medal, Bradley won the North Section, District 4, and Northeast Regional titles. He was runner-up at the PIAA East Super Regional.

Vanderpool had a 14-6 record in his first varsity season. He finished second at the North Section Championships to qualify for the District 4 Championships.

Courtney was 16-11 this season. He finished third at North Sections, and was sixth at Districts.

Setzer was 26-9 on the season. He finished second at North Sections, and fifth at Districts to qualify for the Northeast Regionals.

Rude was 24-9 on the season. He finished third at the North Sections to qualify for Districts.

Stafursky capped his career with a 21-12 season. He finished second at North Sections to qualify for Districts.

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ATHENS' MILLER 'COACH OF YEAR' — MACIK, MILLER REPEAT AS FIRST-TEAM LARGE SCHOOL ALL-STARS

ATHENS' MILLER 'COACH OF YEAR' — MACIK, MILLER REPEAT AS FIRST-TEAM LARGE SCHOOL ALL-STARS

March 21, 2021 Tim Birney

ENS — Athens’ Brian Miller was named the NTL “Coach of the Year” for the second straight season, and his star players — senior Kayleigh Miller and junior Caydence Macik — were voted first-team NTL Large School Division all-stars for the second straight year in voting by the league's coaches.

Senior Megan Collins was a second-team selection.

Towanda sophomore Paige Manchester was named the NTL “Player of the Year,” while NEB’s Maisie Neuber was voted the “Offensive Player of the Year,” Towanda’s Porschia Bennett was tabbed the “Defensive Player of the Year,” and Wyalusing’s Olivia Leichliter was named the “Sixth Man of the Year.”

Miller directed the Lady Wildcats to a 17-7 record in 2021, including a 54-42 win over Milton in the District 4, Class AAAA quarterfinals. The season ended in the semis with a 32-25 loss at Shamokin.

Athens is 39-12 under Miller the last two seasons.

FIRST TEAM
Caydence Macik, junior, Athens:
An athletic low-post player, Macik was a standout on both ends of the floor for the Lady Wildcats.

Macik led Athens at 17.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and 2 blocks per game. She also averaged 2 assists per game.

Kayleigh Miller, senior, Athens: A dead-eye shooter from behind the 3-point arc, Miller graduates fifth all-time on the school’s scoring list with 1,187 points, and first all-time with 222 career 3-pointers.

This season, Miller averaged 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.3 assists per game. She shot 80 percent from the free-throw line, and 40 percent from the field.

Also named to the first team were Towanda’s Erin Barrett, Wyalusing’s Callie Bennett, Wellsboro’s Emma Coolidge, and Troy’s Sidney Taylor.

SECOND TEAM
Megan Collins, senior, Athens:
A dangerous 3-point shooter, Collins averaged 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. She made 23 3-pointers on the season, and finished with 60 for her career.

Also named to the second team were Wyalusing’s Catherine Brown and Madison Putnam, Wellsboro’s Bailey Monks Towanda’s Amanda Horton, and Troy’s Rachel Kingsley.

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ATHENS LANDS FOUR ON LARGE SCHOOL DIVISION ALL-STAR TEAMS

ATHENS LANDS FOUR ON LARGE SCHOOL DIVISION ALL-STAR TEAMS

March 21, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Junior J.J. Babcock and sophomore Mason Lister were named NTL Large School Division first-team all-stars, while juniors Tucker Brown and Nalen Carling were second-team selections by the league’s coaches.

Troy junior Ty Barrett was named the NTL “Player of the Year,” while North Penn-Liberty’s Noah Spencer was voted the “Offensive Player of the Year,” Wyalusing’s Mitchell Burke was named the “Defensive Player of the Year,” and North Penn-Mansfield’s Curtis Craig was tabbed the “Sixth Man of the Year.”

North Penn-Liberty’s Brian Litzelman and his coaching staff was voted “Coaching Staff of the Year.”

FIRST TEAM
J.J. Babcock, junior, Athens:
A versatile 6-5 swingman, Babcock could score in transition, from the perimeter, and in the low blocks.

He led the Wildcats in scoring at 14.8 points per game, while shooting 48.5 percent from the field. He also led the team with 24 blocked shots and 61 deflections.

Babcock was second on the team at 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, as well as 38 steals, and 14 3-pointers.

Mason Lister, sophomore, Athens: At 6-4, Lister was a standout on both ends of the court for the Wildcats. He led the team in assists (4 per game), steals (49), and 3-pointers (30).

Lister was second on the team at 10.8 points per game, and averaged 4.8 rebounds per game.

Also named to the first team were Troy’s Mason Imbt and Ethan Vannoy, and Wellsboro’s Liam Manning and Darryn Callahan.

SECOND TEAM
Tucker Brown, junior, Athens:
One of the premier defenders in the league, Brown was a much-improved player on the offensive end of the floor.

Brown averaged 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 15 blocks per game. He shot 45.5 percent from the field, and 70.8 from the free-throw line.

Nalen Carling, junior, Athens: Long and athletic, Carling was a big contributor in his first season at Athens.

Carling averaged 9 points, a team-high 6.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1 steal per game. He shot a team-best 49.1 percent from the field, and also led the team with a 71.9 percentage from the free-throw line.

Also named to the second team were North Penn-Mansfield’s Karson Dominick and Alex Stein, Troy’s Jake Deitrick, and Wellsboro’s Connor Adams.

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