TIOGA CENTER, N.Y. — “Let’s go.”
Tioga’s players shouted that every time they scored a run or got off the field on defense.
That’s what spurred them past Edison 6-5 on Wednesday and now they will be going to the Section IV, Class C title game on Friday.
“This team deserves it all,” Tioga’s Pierce Hendershot said. “They’ve worked hard all year and I can’t wait for that game.”
Hendershot and Thomas Cook tagged team on the mound for the Tigers with Cook starting and getting the win.
“We really put everything together the past couple of games,” said Cook. “It’s really good to win this.”
All post season long Tioga has hit the ball 1-through-9 and against Edison is was number nine Seth Franks with the big bat, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
“Franks had two big hits at the plate,” said Hendershot. “They’re crushing the ball right now.”
The Tigers got off to a quick start, partially thanks to some poor defense from the Spartans.
They notched three runs in the first and two in the second for a 5-0 lead as Edison threw the ball around.
The Spartans fought back with four in the top of the third, then added another one in the top of the sixth when the error bug hit Tioga.
“We did take advantage of a few mistakes but we made a couple ourselves that they capitalized on,” said Tioga coach Kevin Evanek. “Hopefully it was a wash.”
After losing to Edison twice during the regular season Evanek knew he had to throw them a curveball.
“I pitched Thomas to start and then had Pierce come in,” explained Evanek. “I think most people had Pierce to start, but Thomas did his job. We had the lead after three innings and Pierce came in and did the rest.”
Cook has experience against Edison and knows they’re a fast ball team.
“I throw a lot of curveballs,” he explained. “I was just trying to get there until Pierce could go.”
The gambit paid off and allowed Hendershot to come in with just four innings to go and a 1-run lead despite a 4-run third by the Spartans.
“I was chomping at the bit,” Hendershot said about having to wait to come in. “But I had trust in Thomas. He was throwing great with one bad inning but that’s alright.”
In the bottom of the first Hendershot led off with a walk followed by Mason Booser reaching on an error, which scored Hendershot.
John Worthing singled to put runners on second and third. After an out was recorded Cook bunted in Booser to make it a 2-0.
After a second out it looked like Edison would get out of the jam Worthing stole home for the 3-0 advantage.
The Tigers continued that momentum into the second inning as Seth Franks reached on a one out error followed by Hendershot drawing a second walk.
Franks then scored on a sac fly from Booser with Hendershot coming in off an error in the field to make it 5-0.
In the top of the fourth Edison reached on back to back 1-out walks then a single by Xander Burch put the Spartans on the scoreboard.
After a single and a second out a double by Tyler Lewise scored two more to make it 5-4. Lewise was caught trying to stretch his double into a triple, ending the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth a Derrick Barto double set him up to score on a Franks single, giving them a 2-run cushion.
The Spartans cut it to 1-run again in the sixth as Garrett Mortimer scored on an error. Down by one the Spartans had runners on first and third but back to back strikeouts by Hendershot ended the threat.
He then sat the Edison line-up down in order in the top of the seventh and Tioga was headed to their first sectional title game in three years.
Gage and Barto both had doubles in the game while John and Brady Worthing also had hits.
Cook allowed struck out three while allowing three hits, three walks and four earned runs in his three innings of work.
Hendershot finished out, striking out seven while allowing one walk, three hits and one unearned run in four innings on the mound.
Burch went the distance in the loss for Edison, striking out five while allowing six hits and three walks.
Tioga will now face Deposit in the title game this Friday at 4:30 p.m., either at Union-Endicott or Binghamton University.
“I coached with Bob (Seymour) when we went a few other times there,” said Evanek. “We came out on top and hopefully we can the same this time.”
With the way they’ve played this postseason the Tigers are bullish about their chances come Friday.
“The past four or five games we had a lead in the first inning and Deposit, they’re a good team,” remarked Cook. “We’re going to need to do that.”