SHAMOKIN BLANKS ATHENS, 6-0, IN DISTRICT 4, CLASS AAAA SEMIFINALS

SHAMOKIN BLANKS ATHENS, 6-0, IN DISTRICT 4, CLASS AAAA SEMIFINALS

June 23, 2021 Tim Birney

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.

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WYALUSING ROLLS OVER ATHENS, 13-0, IN LARGE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN

WYALUSING ROLLS OVER ATHENS, 13-0, IN LARGE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN

June 18, 2021 Chris Manning

WYALUSING — After playing to a hard fought, 16-14, win over NP-Liberty on Monday, turning around and facing the red-hot Wyalusing Rams was going to be tough for the Athens Wildcats. After going down 3-0 in the first inning things just got worse, and they ultimately fell, 13-0, in five innings during NTL softball Tuesday.

“Usually, these kids are singing away on the bus, and today they slept,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell. “And today, you could tell it was a long game last night, but I don’t know if that played any part of it.”

The Wildcats tried changing pitchers, but nothing worked to slow down the Rams. While at the plate, they couldn’t figure out Wyalusing hurler Hailey Jayne.

“Hailey pitched a great game,” said Farrell. “We just couldn’t hit her … we just told them, ‘this one’s done with, it’s over with, just forget out it, and move on.’”

Athens had five hits on the day: Harley Sullivan (1-for-3), Audrey Hatch (1-for-3), Ashlyn VanFleet (1-for-1), Addy Repsher (1-for-2), and Megan Collins (1-for-2).

Aliyah Butler started, and takes the loss, going 1 1/3-innings, allowing one walk, four hits, and five runs.

Addy Repsher came in to pitch the next 3 2/3 innings, with one strikeout, three walks, eight hits, and eight runs.

The Wildcats didn’t get a runner on base until the top of the third, and by then it was 5-0 Wyalusing, thanks in large part to a three-run home from Callie Bennett in the first inning.

It was 7-0 in the fourth when Athens was able to threaten. Hatch led off with a single, followed by Repsher getting a two-out hit. However, Wyalusing got a put-out to end the at-bat.

The Rams went on to score six runs in the bottom of the fourth — for a few hot minutes the officials called the game, thinking it was the fifth, not the fourth — which gave Athens one last chance to keep things going.

They once again threatened in the fifth as Collins, and Sullivan both had hits, putting runners on second and third with two outs.

However, Jayne induced a ground out to end the game, giving Wyalusing the season sweep over Athens.

The Rams, now on an 8-game win streak, can close out the NTL Large School title with a win over Canton Thursday.

As for Athens, they’re going to refocus, and recharge, for the playoffs.

“We’re giving them a couple days off,” said Farrell. “We said we’ll see you Friday night. We’re not sure when we’re playing next week, but we are playing Shamokin, that’s pretty set.”

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SETZER, RUDE EARN FIRST-TEAM ALL-NTL HONORS; SULLIVAN HONORABLE MENTION

SETZER, RUDE EARN FIRST-TEAM ALL-NTL HONORS; SULLIVAN HONORABLE MENTION

June 17, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens juniors Kaden Setzer and Karter Rude were named all-NTL first-team baseball all-stars, and sophomre Cameron Sullivan received honorable mention recognition in recent voting by the league's coaches.

NTL Small School, and District 4, Class AA champion Sayre received the majority of the top league awards with junior Brayden Horton voted “Player of the Year,” and sophomore Lucas Horton named the “Pitcher of the Year.”

Sayre coach Jamie VanDuzer and his staff — Mike Cron and Joe Wheeler — were named the “Coaching Staff of the Year.”

Freshmen Hudson Ward of Canton and Trehnon Hugo of Wyalusing were bored “Rookies of the Year,” and Wellsboro’s Cam Brought was the “Newcomer of the Year” — given to a first-year varsity player.

FIRST TEAM
Kaden Setzer, junior, OF / C, Athens:
After a couple of years away from the game, Setzer returned to the diamond without missing a beat.

Setzer hit a team-high .450 (18 hits in 40 ABs) with three doubles, one triple, seven stolen bases, 13 runs scored, and 11 RBI. He also drew nine walks for a .549 on-base percentage. He had a 1.124 OPS.

Karter Rude, junior, C / SS, Athens: A tremendous all-around athlete, Rude led the Wildcats in several offensive categories.

Rude hit .364 with a team-high 24 hits in 66 at-bats. He led Athens with nine doubles, 25 runs scored, and 24 stolen bases without being caught. He also had one triple, 12 RBI, and drew 12 walks for a .462 on-base percentage, and a .992 OPS.

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ATHENS' SULLIVAN LEAGUE'S 'OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR;' FOUR TEAMMATES HONORED AS ALL-STARS

ATHENS' SULLIVAN LEAGUE'S 'OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR;' FOUR TEAMMATES HONORED AS ALL-STARS

June 17, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens senior Harley Sullivan was voted the NTL’s “Offensive Player of the Year,” and four of her teammates were named to the NTL all-star teams — two first-team and two second-team — in recent voting by the league’s softball coaches.

Northeast Bradford sophomore Thailey Franklin was named the league’s “Player of the Year,” while Canton’s Emmi Ward was the “Defensive Player of the Year,” and Wyalusing’s Hailey Jayne was voted “Pitcher of the Year.”

North Penn-Liberty’s Megan Spohn was named the NTL “Rookie of the Year” — given to the league’s top freshman, and NEB’s Kayleigh Thoman was the “Newcomer of the Year” — given to the league’s top first-year varsity player.

The NEB coaches were named the “Coaching Staff of the Year.”

Sullivan, who is also an outstanding defensive catcher, hit .569 (37 hits in 65 at-bats) with 10 doubles, two triples, three home run, 21 RBI, 39 runs scored, and three stolen bases.

Sullivan also drew 23 walks and had a .682 on-base percentage, to go along with a .923 slugging percentage, and a1.605 OPS.

FIRST TEAM
Caydence Macik, junior, SS, Athens:
A tremendous all-around athlete with a powerful swing, Macik hit .500 (27 hits in 54 ABs) with five doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 33 RBI, 27 runs scored and two stolen bases.

She also drew 11 walks for a .585 on-base percentage, to go along with a 1.018 slugging percentage, and a 1.603 OPS.

Audrey Hatch, senior, 1B / CF, Athens: A versatile defender, Hatch hit .465 (40 hits in 86 ABs) with four doubles, three home runs, 16 RBI, 39 runs scored and seven stolen bases.

She had a .477 on-base percentage and a .616 slugging percentage for a 1.093 OPS.

SECOND TEAM
Aliyah Butler, sophomore, 2B / SS, Athens:
Butler, who played both middle infield spots with equal aplomb, hit .391 (27 hits in 69 ABs)  with five doubles, 15 RBI, 12 runs scored, and one stolen base.

Mallory Mummert, senior, 3B, Athens:
A solid defender at the hot corner, Mummert enjoyed a very good season in her only season on varsity.

She hit .364 (24 hits in 66 ABs) with one double, one triple, two home runs, 20 RBI, 26 runs scored and two stolen bases. She also drew 10 walks for a .447 on-base percentage.

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ATHENS' ELLIS CAPS STRONG SENIOR SEASON AT PIAA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

ATHENS' ELLIS CAPS STRONG SENIOR SEASON AT PIAA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

May 28, 2021 Tim Birney

SHIPPENSBURG — Athens’ Asher Ellis capped a stellar senior season throwing in two events here Friday in the PIAA Class AA Track & Field Championships at Seth Grove Stadium on the campus of Shippensburg University.

“(Asher) threw well today,” said Athens coach Scott Riley. “For it being his first time there, it’s a different environment.

“Not having invites this season really put a lot of kids at a disadvantage,” noted Riley.

“He had a great season that really had a huge impact for the team and he should be proud of all that he accomplished,” he added.

Ellis was well off his season-best throws in the javelin and discus on Friday.

The javelin competition took center stage in the morning. The event was broken into three flights, and Ellis, who was the seventh seed, had to wait until the third heat.

He finished 16th with a throw of 155-feet, 9-inches, well off his season-best of 174-feet, 8-inches last weekend at the District 4 Championships.

Bedford senior Elija Cook won PIAA gold in the javelin with an effort of 192-feet, 5-inches.

The javelin competition went long, so meet organizers pushed the discus competition along at a brisk pace.

Seeded 16th, Ellis finished 15th with a toss of 138-feet, 2-inches —  more than 11 feet off his seed distance of 149-feet, 10-inches.

Only three of the 25 throwers in the discus beat their seed distance, and many were more than 12 feet short. The tops seeds both were both 30 feet under their season-best throws and finished 17th and 19th, respectively.

Wyomissing senior Rob Williams won PIAA gold in the discus with a mark of 169-feet, 7-inches — topping his seed by more than 10 feet.

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ATHENS FALLS TO MONTOURSVILLE IN DISTRICT 4, CLASS AAAA SEMIS

ATHENS FALLS TO MONTOURSVILLE IN DISTRICT 4, CLASS AAAA SEMIS

May 27, 2021 Tim Birney

BLOOMSBURG — One bad inning.

Second-seed Montoursville scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to break open a tie game on its way to a 9-2 win over third-seed Athens here Thursday in the semifinals of the District 4, Class AAAA baseball playoffs at Central Columbia High School.

“One bad inning … we made a couple bad plays that extended the inning; that was the difference,” said Athens coach Charlie Havens. “(Montoursville) took advantage of our mistakes, and put together a big inning.”

With one out in the home half of the fourth, Dylan Moll ripped a single through the hole at short.

Three pitches later, Moll took of for second, and Athens shortstop Karter Rude broke toward the bag to take a throw, but Antonio Lorente executed a perfect hit-and-run with a groundball single into left field

With runners on first and third, C.J. Signor laid down a perfect squeeze bunt between the pitcher and first baseman to score Moll with the go-ahead run.

“(Montoursville) answered right back after we tied the game,” said Havens. “That’s what good teams do.

“They executed very well to get their first run,” added Havens. “They’re a good team, it’s fun to watch that kind of stuff.”

Back-to-back walks forced home another run to give Montoursville a 3-1 lead, and Nick Reeder followed with an RBI double just inside the third-base page to make it 5-1.

Havens elected to lift starter Mason Lister for fellow sophomore Lucas Kraft, and Kraft struck out the first batter he faced. However, Nolan Kutney hammered a 1-1 pitch into the right-center field gap for a two-run double to push the lead to 7-1.

The Wildcats scored a run in the top of the sixth without the benefit of a hit, but Maddox Dalena answered with a two-run home run to left field in the home half of the frame to provide the final margin.

Montoursville scored an unearned run in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead, but Athens answered with a run in the fourth to tie the game.

Rude led off the Athens fourth with an infield single, and advanced to third base on an errant pick-off throw. Sophomore Caleb Nichols drove him home with a sacrifice fly.

Reeder started for Montoursville and pitched six innings of one-hit ball to earn the win, striking out six and walking just one. Grayson Rinker retired Athens in order in the seventh, striking out two.

“We only had one hit, and that was an infield single, so we didn’t help ourselves out that way,” said Havens.

Lister was tagged with the loss, allowing seven runs — six earned — on four hits, while striking out three and walking three in 3 1/3 innings.

Kraft finished off the game, allowing two runs on two hits, while striking out five and walking one in 2 2/3 innings or work.

Athens wraps up the season, the first under Havens, at 12-9.

“This season was a huge transition,” said Havens. “It was a transition for me, it was a transition for the guys getting used to each other, and to our system.

“Me going from being a JV coach for such a long time … it was a harder transition than I thought it would be,” noted Havens. “Getting use to the speed of the game … and I didn’t know any of the teams in the NTL — I do now.”

“The whole year was a learning experience. Figuring out our system took a little time, but once we did, we came around and did some good things,” he added. “Once we put it together, we won 8 of our last 10 to end the regular season.”

The Wildcats graduate just three seniors in starters Kyler Setzer and Tanner Dildine, and reserve Ben Vough.

“We’re going to lose three real good seniors who came to work every day,” said Havens. “They will be tough to replace, and will definitely be missed.”

Havens believes the future is bright for Athens baseball.

“We have a lot of sophomores, who will be juniors, coming back; and Karter Rude will be a senior, he’s a heck of a player,” said Havens. “We have the pieces here.

“Nick Jacob is going up from the JVs. He’s going to be a heck of a ball player, and someone who will help us going forward,” noted Havens. “And, Connor Mosher does a lot of good things. He will help us out.

“Our junior high team was 15-2. There are some kids coming up from that team that we’ll take a look at.

“People are going to get pushed for spots,” added Havens. “I think we have a three or four year window where we can make a run at this.”

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BARTLOW, BRONSON LEAD LADY WILDCATS AT DISTRICT 4 TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

BARTLOW, BRONSON LEAD LADY WILDCATS AT DISTRICT 4 TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

May 22, 2021 Tim Birney

WILLIAMSPORT — Athens junior Olivia Bartlow  was the top place-winner for Valley girls, winning a bronze medal in the discus, while Athens sophomore Emma Bronson won a pair of medals in the distance events here Saturday at the District 4 Track & Field Championships.

The Lady Wildcats, competing in Class AAA, finished seventh (out of seven) with 19 points, while Class Sayre was tied for 18th (out of 27) with 4 points.

Bartlow finished third in the discus with a toss of 91-feet, 2-inches, while Athens sophomore Meltem VanHelden was 13th at 67-feet, 5-inches, and freshman Emma Pernaselli was 14th at 62-feet, 9-inches.

Bronson finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in a time of 5:35.27, and was fifth in the 800-meter run in 2:30.78

Senior Leah Liechty and senior Emma Roe, junior Hannah Walker, and freshman Mya Thompson teamed to finish fifth in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 4:25.19.

Liechty, sophomore Cassy Friend, and freshmen Emily Henderson and Abbie Panek teamed to finish sixth in the 400-meter relay in a time of 55.98 seconds.

Thompson, who won four medals on the weekend, finished sixth in the long jump with a leap of 15-feet, 5 3/4-inches, and Friend was 10th at 14-feet, 4 1/4-inches.

Pernaselli finished eighth in the javelin with a throw of 94-feet.

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ATHENS' ELLIS PUNCHES TICKET TO STATES IN SECOND EVENT, NARROWLY MISSES THIRD

ATHENS' ELLIS PUNCHES TICKET TO STATES IN SECOND EVENT, NARROWLY MISSES THIRD

May 22, 2021 Tim Birney

WILLIAMSPORT — Athens senior Asher Ellis will be a busy young man Friday at the PIAA Track & Field Championships.

Ellis, who won district gold in the javelin Thursday night, added a second gold medal Saturday in the discus, and nearly qualified for States in a third throwing event before settling for a bronze medal at the District 4, Class AA Track & Field Championships.

On Thursday, Ellis struggled in the preliminaries of the javelin, and narrowly advanced to the finals, where he popped out a big throw to win gold.

On Saturday, Ellis’ best discus throw in the preliminaries was 114-feet, which put him in the ninth and final qualifying spot.

On his first throw in the finals, Ellis unleashed a throw of 149-feet, 10-inches, which ended up besting runner-up Cole Goodwin of Milton (139-feet, 11-inches) by nearly 10 feet.

“The nerves were kicking in. It’s tough with all these talented throwers — anybody could have won,” said Ellis.

“It started out the same as the javelin, I was struggling, then it clicked.

“I got settled in after the first three throws,” added Ellis. “I knew I had it in me, I just had to do it.”

Ellis said the wind was also a factor.

“(The) wind was tough,” he said. “If you didn’t have a perfect release, the wind would catch it, and flip it right back. You had to be mindful of that.”

In between the preliminaries and the finals, each competitor received one practice throw. Ellis’ practice throw may have been his best of the day.

“That throw gave me a little boost of confidence, and let me settle in,” he said. “Then, I let if fly.”

Sayre senior Zach Belles finished eighth in the discus at 117-feet, and Athens senior Lucas Aquilio was 22nd at 84-feet, 7-inches. Athens senior Ian Wright no-distanced.

Later in the afternoon, Ellis and Central Columbia Garrett Carter tied for second in the shot put with throws of 46-feet, 11-inches. Carter claimed the silver by virtue of having a better second-best throw of 45-feet, 6 3/4-inches, compared to Ellis mark of 42-feet.

“I did what I could do,” said Ellis. “It’s been a long day … not to make excuses, but I just didn’t perform as well as I could have. And, that’s all right.”

Ellis will now prepare to compete in the javelin and discus in the PIAA Championships.

“As much as I wanted to win all three, what you want doesn’t always happen.

“I did what I could,” said Ellis. “It will definitely allow me to focus more on the javelin and the discus.

“I’m proud of myself, and I’m good with my performance,” added Ellis.

Belles finished 12th at 40-feet, 3 1/2-inches, and Wright was 23rd at 37-feet, 1/2-inch.

The Wildcats finished fifth in the highly-bunched team standings. Tightly-bunched aside from Southern Columbia that is.

The Tigers ran away with the team title with 113.5 points, while Mount Carmel was second with 55 points, Milton was third with 49.5 points, Loyalsock was fourth with 48 points, and Athens and South Williamsport were tied with 46 points. Sayre was 22nd in the 25-team field with 4 points.

“Asher (Ellis) led the way today and Thursday with some big points in the throwing events, but we added points along the way in the relays, and some of the other events,” said Athens coach Scott Riley.

“When you have one team that runs away with it, it kind of lets the rest of us battle it out for what’s left.

“The kids were PRing left and right,” noted Riley. “It’s been tough with the heat, but they adapting the best they can, and do pretty well.

“It’s been an incredibly coachable group across the board, and a very exciting team,” added Riley. “It’s been fun to watch them grow throughout the season.”

Junior Kyle Anthony, who won a fourth-place medal Thursday, won three more Saturday.

Anthony finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in 4:36.93, while Dahl was ninth in 4:52.25, and junior Matt Gorsline was 11th in 4:53.84.

Anthony finished seventh in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:06.07, while junior Justin Lynch was ninth in 2:06.31

Anthony teamed with junior Ryan Thompson, Lynch, and freshman Ryan Lasusa to finish seventh in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 3:41.91. Sayre’s foursome of seniors Bobby Benjamin and Tavone McClenny, sophomore Mason Hughey and junior Riley Parrish finished 11th in 3:46.41.

Dahl finished sixth in the 3,200-meter run in a time of 10:21.62, and Gorsline was seventh in 10:24.02

The Athens foursome of senior Joe Toscano, junior Levi Kuhns, Thompson, and sophomore Jaden Wright finished eighth in the 400-meter relay in a time of 46.92 seconds.

Lasusa finished ninth in the 400-meter hurdles in 53.1 seconds, and Sayre senior Tavone McClenny was 16th in 54.84 seconds.

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ELLIS WINS GOLD, HEADED TO STATES; THOMPSON EARNS TWO MEDALS

ELLIS WINS GOLD, HEADED TO STATES; THOMPSON EARNS TWO MEDALS

May 20, 2021 Tim Birney

WILLIAMSPORT — Athens senior Asher Ellis topped his seed by more than 8 1/2-feet to win gold in the javelin here Friday evening at the District 4, Class AA Track & Field Championships, and punch his ticket to States next week at Shippensburg University.

Entering the meet with a season-best throw of 166-feet, 1-inch, Ellis was seeded second behind Montoursville senior Gavin Livermore, who was the top seed at 169-feet, 10-inches.

Ellis launched a throw of 174-feet, 8-inches, besting Livermore, who was second at 173-feet, 9-inches.

The Wildcat 3,200-meter relay team also reached the podium.

Juniors Kyle Anthony, Matt Gorsline, and Justin Lynch, and senior Connor Dahl teamed to finish fourth in a time of 8:32.7.
 
Athens is currently second in the team standings with 15 points. Southern Columbia leads the field with 20 points, while Montoursville is third with 13 points, and Wyalusing and Hughesville are tied for fourth with 10.

Athens junior Levi Kuhns finished seventh in his 100-meter hurdles heat in a time of 18.27 seconds.

CLASS AAA GIRLS
The Lady Wildcats reached the podium in two events in the Class AAA Championships, with freshman Mya Thompson earning a pair of medals in the process.

Sophomore Emma Bronson, senior Emma Roe, Thompson, and junior Hannah Walker placed fifth in the 3,200-meter relay in a time of 10:37.82.

Thompson also medalled in the triple jump, finishing sixth with an effort of 31-feet, 6-inches.

Senior Leah Liechty finished eighth in the high jump at 4-feet, 5-inches, while freshman Emily Henderson was sixth in her heat, and 10th overall, in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 18.75 seconds.

Freshman Emma Pernaselli was 12th in the shot put with a heave of 26-feet, 5-inches.

Saturday’s action begins at 9 a.m.

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ATHENS RALLIES TO EDGE NP-LIBERTY, 16-14, IN EPIC COMEBACK

ATHENS RALLIES TO EDGE NP-LIBERTY, 16-14, IN EPIC COMEBACK

May 17, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — There are comebacks, and there are comebacks.

North Penn-Liberty scored 11 runs in the second inning to take an 11-5 lead, and led 14-9 after 4 1/2 innings, but Athens scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out a wild, 16-14, win here Monday afternoon in NTL Large School Division softball action.

“Our kids never quit, we just kept chipping away,” said Athens coach Mickey Farrell, who noted his team’s defense put them in an early hole.

“We did not play well defensively in the outfield, and we had eight errors overall,” he noted.

Athens improves to 15-4 on the season. The 15 wins are believed to be a school-record .

“Before the game, we told the kids let’s get back to what’s gotten us to this record,” said Farrell. “And that is having fun.

“We had been pressing too hard because of how important these games are,” noted Farrell. “We just wanted them to play hard and have fun; whatever happens, happens.  !

“We now have the most wins in a season at 15,” added Farrell.

Athens took a quick 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Senior Harley Sullivan walked to lead off the game, and junior Audrey Hatch followed with a single. Junior Caydence Macik drove both runners home with a two-run triple, and scored on a grounder off the bat of senior Mallory Mummert.

Sophomores Addy Repsher and Aliyah Butler followed with RBI singles to cap the rally.

The Lady Mountaineers sent 15 batters to the plate in the top of the second, turning six hit, three errors, and three walks into 11 runs. Payton Chapel’s three-run home run capped the rally.

The Lady Wildcats got three runs back in the home half of the second, trimming the deficit to 11-8.

Sullivan led off the inning with a single, and Athens used a pair of walks, and outfield error and a pair of passed balls to plate their runs.

Macik led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, and scored on a one-out RBI single by Repsher to pull within two run, at 11-9.

NP-Liberty scored twice in the top of the fifth on a one-out bases-loaded single y Megan Spohn and a walk to Saige Lehman to make it 13-9, but Macik, who came on in relief in the second inning for the Lady Wildcats, registered a pair of strikeouts to avoid further damage.

Sullivan led off the home half of the fifth inning with a double, and scored on a one-out RBI single by Macik. After Macik stole second, she scored on an RBI single by Mummert to make it 13-11.

NP-L scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth to up its advantage to 14-11, but the Athens offense kept hitting.

The inning didn’t start well as the first two Lady Wildcat batters struck out. With two outs, Sullivan ripped a double, and Hatch followed with a single. After an intentional walk to Macik, Mummert and Repsher hit back-to-back two-run singles to give Athens a 15-14 lead. Butler’s RBI double provided the final margin.

In the top of the seventh, Macik retired the side in order to preserve the win.

Macik had three hits, including a tripled and a double, scored five runs, and had three RBI, while Repsher stroked three singles, scored three runs, and drove in four runs, and Sullivan belted two doubles and a triple, and scored four runs to pace Athens’ 17-hit attack.

Mummert singled twice, scored two runs, and collected four RBI in the win, while Hatch singled twice and scored two runs, Butler doubled and singled, and drove in one run, and freshman Ashlyn VanFleet and senior Carly Simpson each added a single.

Athens travels to Wyalusing Tuesday in a key battle for the NTL Large School title.

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ATHENS TOPS NP-M, 8-3; AVENGES EARLY-SEASON LOSS

ATHENS TOPS NP-M, 8-3; AVENGES EARLY-SEASON LOSS

May 17, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning, and put the game away in the sixth in an 8-3 win over North Penn-Mansfield in the regular-season finale here Monday afternoon in NTL Large School baseball action.

The win averages a 6-5 setback at NP-Mansfield for the Wildcats a month ago.

“These games with North Penn-Mansfield this season have been exciting,” said Athens coach Charlie Havens. “They were high-intensity, division-rivalry games — a lot of fun.”

Sophomores Mason Lister and Cameron Sullivan combined to one earned run, despite allowing 13 base-runners in seven innings.

“Mason didn’t have his best stuff, but he really battled and kept us in the game,” said Havens.

“And, Cameron was once again solid in relief. He just seems so relaxed in that situation,” he noted. “No one on or bases loaded he just works quickly and pumps strikes up there.

“He’s been huge for us,” added Havens.

NP-M scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the third inning to take a 2-0 lead, but answered with two runs in the home half of the frame to tie it up.

Kyler Setzer singled to lead off the inning, and took second on a passed ball. With one out he scored on an RBI single by junior Karter Rude, who later scored on a passed ball.

Lister led off the fourth inning with a walk, and ended up scoring on consecutive singles by sophomores Lucas Kraft and Jarren Glisson, and Kaden Setzer. The Wildcats missed out on a golden opportunity to increase its lead by leaving the bases loaded after a pair of infield pop outs, and a come-backer to the mound.

The Tigers tied the game with a run in the top of the fifth inning, but the Wildcats used a two-out rally to take the lead for good.

Junior Caleb Nichols singled and stole second, then scored on a two-out double by Kraft to make it 4-3.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Rude walked, stole second, moved to third on a balk, and then stole home to give the Wildcats a 5-3 lead.

Nichols reached on an error, and Sullivan re-ignited the rally with an RBI triple to extend the lead to 6-3. Sullivan scored on an RBI single by Lister, who later scored on an error to make it 8-3.

Lister pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits, while striking seven and walking five in a no-decision.

Sullivan earned the win, allowing one run on five hits, while striking out one and walking none in 2 1/3 innings.

Kraft doubled and singled, and drove in one run, and Nichols doubled and singled, scored two runs, and stole two bases to pace Athens at the plate, while Lister singled, scored two runs, and drove in one run, and Rude singled, scored two runs, stole three bases, and drove in one run.

Kaden Setzer singled and knocked in one run, while Sullivan tripled, scored one run and drove in one run, Kyler Setzer singled and scored one run, and Glisson added a single.

Athens wraps up the regular season at 12-8, and now awaits word on the upcoming District 4, Class AAA playoffs.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and how we turned this season around,” said Havens. “Finishing 12-8 is an impressive accomplishment. 

“We definitely like where we are at with a few days to practice and rest our arms headed into the postseason,” Havens added.

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ATHENS RALLIES LATE TO TOP WAVERLY, 4-2

ATHENS RALLIES LATE TO TOP WAVERLY, 4-2

May 14, 2021 Tim Birney

ENS — Athens overcame a shaky start, and rallied late for a 4-2 win over Valley rival Waverly here Friday afternoon in a non-league baseball game played “In Memory of Andy Rickert.”

It’s the second win of the season for the Wildcats against the Wolverines. They won 9-3 at Waverly May 1 as part of “The Battle of the Border.”

Junior Thomas Hand led of the game with a single, and advanced to third when freshman Jay Pipher’s fly ball to left field was dropped. With runners on second and third, freshman Joey Tomasso hit an RBI single to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead.

Sophomore Tyler Beeman’s fielder’s choice grounder plater Pipher to make it 2-0.

After an infield error allowed junior Caden Hollywood, Athens sophomore shortstop Mason Lister gobbled up a grounder off the bat of junior Brennan Traub raced to second, and fired to first for a 6-3 double play to end the inning.

Waverly starter junior Derek Seymour pitched around a second-inning walk, and a two-out single in the third inning by Athens junior Karter Rude to keep the Wolverines ahead 2-0.

Athens starter sophomore Lucas Kraft, meanwhile, retired Waverly in order in the second and third innings, although he needed a strong throw from sophomore catcher Caleb Nichols to gun down Pipher attempting to steal second base in the third inning.

Beeman and Hollywood led off the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles, and Traub moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, but Kraft registered a strikeout, and induced an infield grounder to escape the jam unscathed.

Lister worked a one-out walk off Seymour in the fourth, but Waverly turned a 4-6-3 (Pipher-Tomasso-Hollywood) double play to end the inning.

Kraft breezed through the top of the fifth, but the Wildcats got on the board in the home half of the frame.

With one out, junior Dylan Merritt worked a walk, and moved to second on a bunt. After a walk to sophomore Carson Smith, Rude stroked an RBI single to center field to trim the deficit to 2-1. A wild pitch brought home pinch-runner junior Jared Peterson to tie the game at 2-2.

Kraft again retired the Wolverines in order in the top of the sixth, and the Wildcats once again pushed a pair of runs across the plate in the home half.

Sophomore Cam Sullivan walked to lead off the inning. An errant pick-off attempt allowed pinch-runner junior osiah Stringman to advance to third base. He scored moments later on a passed ball.

With two outs, sophomore Jaren Glisson singled, and Merritt walked. A pair of wild pitches allowed Glisson to score to make it 4-2.

Waverly put the tying runs on base in the top of the seventh inning on one-out singles by junior Kaden Wheeler and senior Nick VanHouten, but Kraft retired the last two batters to preserve the win.

Kraft allowed two runs — both unearned — on six hits, while striking out four and walking one in a complete-game, seven-inning effort.

Rude stroked a pair of singles and drove in one run, and Glisson singled and scored one run to account for Athens’ three hits. Kaden Setzer, Peterson, and Stringham scored runs for the Wildcats.

Beeman singled twice and drove in one run to pace Waverly’s six-hit attack,, while Hand singled and scored one run, Hollywood, Wheeler, and VanHouten each singled, and Pipher scored one run.

Seymour was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs on two hits, while striking out three and walking five in 5 1/3 innings of work. Beeman allowed one run on one hit, with two strikeouts and two walks in 2/3 of an inning.

Athens, now 11-8, hosts North Penn-Mansfield Monday, while Waverly (4-4) hosts Dryden Monday.

——————

NOTE: A 1988 Athens grad, Rickert was a key cog on the 1987 NTL championship team. A junior that season, Rickert batted .393 with 18 RBI and 11 stolen bases.

During his senior season, Rickert hit .524 (33 hits in 63 at-bats) with nine doubles, five triples, three home runs, and 35 RBI. He also stole 11 bases and scored 23 runs.<

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ELLIS SWEEPS THROWING EVENTS AT NTL COACHES' INVITE

ELLIS SWEEPS THROWING EVENTS AT NTL COACHES' INVITE

May 14, 2021 Chris Manning

ATHENS — Coming into the NTL Coaches’ Invitational, Athens senior Asher Ellis had one goal — sweep the throwing events. He was the top seed for all three, and only had one loss during the season.

“My goal was to win every event this year,” explained Ellis. “And I almost got it, I lost at Troy — one event.”

On Friday, though, there would be no second place for him, as he won the shot put (46-feet, 5 3/4-inches), discus (141-feet, 10-inches), and javelin (166-feet, 1-inch) — all by comfortable margins.

“It was good,” said Ellis. “The last home meet… I had to put everything out there. I’m going to miss it.”

He accounted for half of Athens’ wins on Friday, with the only other individual champion being freshman Ryan Lasusa (53.57) in the 400.

The Wildcat 4x400 relay of junior Kyle Anthony, Lasusa, junior Justin Lynch, and junior Ryan Thompson won in 3:40.37, while the 4x800 relay of Anthony, senior Connor Dahl, junior Matt Gorsline, and Lynch won in 8:46.25.

In the 200, senior Joey Toscano (24.87) was fourth, and Lasusa (25.41) came in eighth. Thompson (55.57) was seventh in the 400.

Three different Wildcats medaled in the 800 with Anthony (2:05.87) third, Lynch (2:09.64) fifth, and sophomore Ethan Denlinger (2:18.16) eighth.

Dahl (4:48.47) was fourth in the 1600, and junior Sander Bertsch (5:15.46) came in sixth.

Gorsline (10:47.74) was second in the 3200, with Dahl (11:10.96) fifth, and Izaac Hobday (12:08.12) sixth.

Levi Kuhns (17.88) was second in the 110 hurdles.

The Athens 4x100 relay of Kuhns, Thompson, Toscano, and sophomore Jaden Wright was fourth in 47.72.

Senior Ian Wright (42-feet, 3 1/2-inches) was fourth in the shot put, and also took third in the discus in 121-feet, 1-inch. Lucas Aquilio (106-feet, 9-inches) was eighth in the discus.

Asher will now get ready for the District IV Championships, where he will likely be either the top seed, or in the top three, for all his events.

“I’m going to go for all three,” he said. “It’s all technique. I just have to hit my steps, everything has got to be smooth.”

The District IV Championships are Thursday and Saturday at Williamsport High School.

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TRIPLE-WINNER BRONSON PACES ATHENS' EFFORTS AT TL COACHES' INVITE

TRIPLE-WINNER BRONSON PACES ATHENS' EFFORTS AT TL COACHES' INVITE

May 14, 2021 Chris Manning

ATHENS — Athens sophomore Emma Bronson has been stellar all season  for the Lady Wildcats, and on Friday, at the NTL Coaches’ Invitational, she was dominant, sweeping the distance events.

“It was hard, but it felt good to win all three,” said Bronson.

Bronson won the 800 in 2:32.69, the 1600 in 5:36.52, and the 3200 in 12:35.99 — not an easy feat on a WARM day. She wasn’t fazed, however.

“I kind of stayed with the same strategy going in,” she said. “I knew there were a lot of good runners in each race, so I just wanted to stick with my game plan.”

Her three wins were part of seven for the Athens’ girls team on the day.

Senior Emma Roe (1:02.71) won the 400, junior Hannah Walker (49.76) won the 300 hurdles, freshman Mya Thompson (31-feet, 8-inches) won the triple jump, and the 4x400 relay team of Roe, Thompson, Walker, and senior Leah Liechty won in 4:26.07.

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CORNING EDGES ATHENS, 3-1

CORNING EDGES ATHENS, 3-1

May 13, 2021 Tim Birney

CORNING — Unbeaten Corning scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out a 3-1 win over Athens here Thursday afternoon in non-league baseball action.

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kaden Setzer, but Corning answered with an unearned run in the second to tie the game.

The Wildcats had runners on second and third with one out in the top of the third, but couldn’t push a run across. They didn’t have a runner get past first base over the final four innings.

Corning had runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Athens starter sophomore Gage Warner registered a strikeout to end the threat.

Corning’s first two batters in the sixth inning reached base after being hit by pitches. With one out, a wild pitch plated the go-ahead run, then John Green added an insurance run with an RBI single.

Kyler Setzer and Lucas Kraft singled to account for Athens’ two hits, while Mason Lister scored one run, and Kaden Setzer had an RBI.

Warner was tagged with the tough-luck loss for the Wildcats. He allowed three runs — two earned — on seven hits, while striking out six and walking one in six innings of work.

Mason Smith started for the Hawks, allowing an unearned run on one hit, while striking out four and walking one in 4 1/3 innings.

Tom Hacket earned the win, allowing one hit, while striking out three in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

Athens, now 10-8, hosts Waverly Friday.

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