Tioga softball captures IAC title
ITHACA, N.Y. - For the past week the Tioga Tigers have been anxiously waiting for the chance to take the field and play for the IAC Championship.
The game was originally scheduled to be played last week at Cornell University, but rain changed those plans. After a few more days of wondering when the game would be played, the Tigers learned they would be hosting the matchup on Monday.
However, over the weekend things changed again and the game was moved back to Cornell.
All the delays and switching of sites could impact the way a team played. But, that wasn't the case with the Tigers who came out fired up and scored three second-inning runs on their way to an 8-0 victory over Union Springs.
"After this year, we know to bring our uniform every day and be ready to play whenever we are told," senior Kacie Hoyt said.
"There can be like eight changes to a game time in a week, but we are used to it by now," senior Kara McDuffee added.
Senior pitcher Sarah Wayson was happy with how the team dealt with all the changes to the schedule.
"I think the team did a nice job of really coming prepared and ready to play the game," she said. "It is nice to win another IAC title and I'm definitely looking forward to sectionals now."
One of the challenges with having the game postponed was Tioga didn't play at all last week, but coach Jim Wood didn't think the time off showed in his team's performance.
"After coming off a long layoff and only really being outside one time in the last week, they looked relaxed today and they hit the ball with confidence against a really good pitcher."
It's the second year in a row in which the Tigers have beaten Union Springs for the title and the second straight time in which Wayson has shutout the team.
"I think getting out to a good lead was crucial," Wood said. "It allowed Sarah and (catcher) Cheyenne Skinner to relax and they did a great job. But, that's kind of been Sarah's MO the last four or five years. The bigger the game, the better she plays."
Wayson knows that the offense getting that early lead was a big help for her.
"It's great when the team goes out and gets run and we play from ahead," she said. "I thought Cheyenne really called a great game."
The game was another masterpiece by Wayson, who struck out 16 and allowed just two hits in the shutout. She only allowed runners to reach base in two innings and struck out two or more in every inning of the game.
The big innings for the Tigers were the second when they took the 3-0 lead and the fifth when they scored four times to put the game away. They added a run in the sixth.
The second inning started with singles by Skinner and Whitney Wolff and Leandra Brink walked to lad the bases, before Liz Vinti hit a two-run single and Kara McDuffee reached on an error, bringing home a run.
Vinti had three hits, with three RBI and McDuffee had two hits with an RBI. Wayson had two hits, with a double and a run scored and Ashley Stubbs scored a run. Hoyt had two hits, with a double, a run scored and an RBI and Skinner had three hits, while Aleah Williams scored a run.
Wolff had two hits, an RBI and she scored two runs and Brink had a hit, two runs scored and two RBI.
For Tioga's seniors it was nice to capture another IAC crown in their last year.
"It's definitely to go out with a bang and go out with a title," Hoyt said.
While the rain made things hard for the Tigers in the past week, they now have a bye in the sectional playoffs and get the rest of this week off.
"We had a really busy two weeks straight, then had a break last week and this week we can focus on what we need to work on before sectionals," McDuffee said.