Sophomore Haley Williamson hit a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Horseheads softball team a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Corning on Saturday in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference West tiebreaker.
It was the second straight West title for the Blue Raiders, who fell behind twice before the last-inning drama. Corning’s loss to Vestal on Friday forced the playoff at the Broad Street field. The sight was determined by a coin flip.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” said Horseheads coach Audrey Rijo. “It just shows that the kids didn’t give up today and I’m very proud that they were able to battle back and win it.”
Horseheads (14-5, 12-3 STAC) advances to play a STAC semifinal against Seton Catholic Central at 3 p.m. Monday at the BAGSAI Complex near Broome Community College in the Town of Dickinson. The winner will play in the championship game at 5:15 p.m.
Williamson, batting third, was 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Her ground ball single up the middle with no one out in the last inning scored Jessica Rutherford and Annah Stucky, who boldly ran all the way from first base.
Rutherford led off the inning by crushing a double to deep center field on a 3-1 count. Stucky bunted to pitcher Angie Frampton and just beat her throw to first base. After Williamson’s hit, Stucky slid safely into home to score the winner as the throw was on-time but just off the plate on the first-base side.
“It feels amazing,” Williamson said. “We worked so hard to be where we are now.”
Horseheads also had production from the rest of the middle of its lineup. Clean-up hitter Mary Clair Grosvenor and Mickenzie Palmer each had two hits in three at-bats. Amber Terlaje threw a complete game.
Angelena Maio and Taylor Sparks were 2-for-3 with an RBI apiece to lead Corning (13-6, 11-4). Each team had nine hits and Corning turned two double plays.
“I thought it was a well-played game with some great defensive plays to stop runs from scoring,” said Corning coach Irene Furness. “They did what they needed to do.
“They pushed the ball through in the end and that’s all that mattered.”
Corning took a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out RBI single by Angelena Maio.
Horseheads struck back for two runs in the third inning. Jen Turnerhit an infield single and advanced to third on a throwing error by Frampton on Rutherford’s ground ball. Turner scampered home on a passed ball to tie it. Rutherford then scored on Williamson’s RBI groundout to first.
The Hawks scored three times in the fourth on consecutive RBI hits by Gabby Citriniti, Megan Lewis and Taylor Sparks.
A potential fourth-inning rally for Horseheads was snuffed out by a nice double play initiated by Corning shortstop Chaylen Andolino. With runners on first and second with one out, Andolino grabbed Turner’s ground ball and tagged out lead runner Emily Knowlden before throwing a force out at second.
Corning threatened in the fifth but left runners stranded at second and third. In the bottom of the inning, Mickenzie Palmer’s RBI single made it a one-run game.
The Hawks tried to add to their lead in the seventh but Hailey Blencowe lined out hard to first with two runners on base.