By: Tim Birney | | June 23, 2021 | Photo courtesy Lance Larcom


WILLIAMSPORT — Postseason softball is all about pitching, and Shamokin’s Annie Hornberger was on top of her game Tuesday afternoon, limiting Athens to three hits in a 6-0 win here in the semifinals of the District 4, Class 4-A playoffs at Elm Park.

Hornberger fanned 10 and walked three in seven innings of work. She allowed just one hit after the first inning.

“(Hornberger) is the best pitcher we’ve faced all season. She threw a great game,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell.

“She was throwing mid-60s with a nasty curveball,” noted Farrell. “The girls kept coming back and saying ‘her curveball is moving like crazy.’”

“We battled though,” added Farrell. “We struck out seven times in the first three innings, but after that, we put the ball in play, (Shamokin) just made plays.”

Athens, on the other hand, committed four errors, leading to five unearned runs.

“We struggled defensively,” said Farrell. :We had a bad throw that cost us a run, and booted a couple balls that cost us runs, but that’s what happens when we have to put Caydence (Macik) on the mound.”

Junior Caydence Macik, the starting shortstop when she’s not in the pitcher’s circle was tagged with the tough-luck loss. She allowed six runs — only one earned — on nine hits, while striking out two and walking three in 5 1/3 innings of work.

“(Caydence Macik) threw a great game. Her change-up was nice, and she kept (Shamokin) off-balance. She threw strikes, and only had three walks. She did a great job.”

Sophomore Aliyah Butler walked one in 2/3 of an inning of relief.

Senior Harley Sullivan led off the game with a line-drive single into centerfield for the Lady Wildcats, and senior Audrey Hatch followed with a bunt single, but Hornberger fanned the next three batters to escape the early jam.

Shamokin worked a walk and had a pair of singles in the home half of the first, but a relay from sophomore right fielder Addy Repsher to first baseman Hatch to catcher Sullivan cut down a runner at the plate, and Macik retired the next batter to escape the inning unscathed.

Shamokin took advantage of a pair of Athens errors in the bottom of the second inning to take a 3-0 lead.

The Lady Indians tacked on a run in the fourth, and two more in the sixth to provide the final margin.

Sullivan had two hits, and Hatch added one to account for Athens’ three hits.

Farrell was pleased with his team’s effort in the loss.

“We had a great week of practice,” he said. “And we played hard, that’s the one thing I did not like against Wyalusing, but today we battled. We just got beat by a better team.”

The Lady Wildcats finish up the season with a 15-6 record.

“I told the girls after the game that they played far and above expectations,” said Farrell. “No one gave us a shot at the NTL title, but we tied for the best record … no one thought we could do it.

“It’s all because of these kids,” he noted. “They practice hard and put a lot of work into this season.”

Farrell will be looking to replace five seniors, including four starters, in 2022.

“It’s a good group. I want to cry when I talk about this group,” said Farrell.

“Carlie Simpson wasn’t a starter, but she came to everything for the three years she was with me. She never complained, and was always there for us. She’s a great kid.

“Mallory (Mummert) got hurt her sophomore season … she’s a senior, but it was her rookie year,” he said. “She did a heck of a job at third base, and hit over .300. She was a nice surprise for us.”

“Megan (Collins) was a steadying influence on the team. She hit the ball pretty well early in the year.

“Audrey (Hatch) made the move from the outfield to first base for us, and did a great job there for us,” noted Farrell. “She was only a .200 hitter two years ago, but hit well over .400 this year.

“Then, there’s Harley Sullivan,” continued Farrell. “In all my years of coaching, she is far and away the best kid I’ve ever coached. And I don’t mean her performance, but how she carries herself.

“No one has the work ethic Harley has. She kept us there late at practice every night.

“We wouldn’t trade her for the world,” added Farrell. “She’s a phenomenal young lady, and she’s going to do good thing at King’s (College).”

Looking ahead, Farrell believes 2022 could be another good season for the Lady Wildcats.

“We have all three of our starting pitchers coming back, and an 8th-grader (Savannah Persun) who will also challenge for time on the mound next year.

“Ash VanFleet will probably slide in behind the plate because that’s her natural position, and we have our entire starting outfield coming back,” said Farrell. “We need to find a first baseman, and a third baseman.

“Abby Champion will come up from the JV team and help us, and Braelynn Wood and Ciara Devine will step in somewhere for us,” noted Farrell. “And, we have a couple 8th-grader who could help us.

“We have some talent ready to step up, and having those three starting pitchers back is going to be huge,” added Farrell.


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 five sites in "The Sports Reports" family that cover 24 school districts in five counties: Valley Sports Report (launched Aug. 10, 2009), Tioga County (NY) Sports Report (Aug. 13, 2018), and Northern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 31, 2020); Northern Tier West Sports Report (March 15, 2021) Southern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 16, 2021).