The Corning Community College softball team knew they were in for a battle when they found out their playoff match-up for the Tuesday afternoon NJCAA Region III Tournament. Corning and Monroe CC have a lengthy history of battles in the post-season, having ended each others seasons plenty of times over the years. The Red Barons were correct in their assumption as the Tribunes tested their host and made for a very exciting play-off atmosphere.
Monroe struck first when a solo HR in the top of the 3rd inning gave the 1-0 edge to MCC. Corning would answer in the bottom of the frame when Emily Knowlden doubled and then Sam Hauck smacked a single to score Knowlden from second. A 4th innning solo shot would again tip the scales to MCC, taking a 2-1 lead. Corning's big 5th inning would prove to be the difference in the game. Sam Mennig lead off the inning with her own solo HR to tie the score at 2 and then Angie Frampton singled followed by another Hauck single. Amber Edwards hit a deep ball to right-center that would allow both runners to tag and advance. With two outs, Kiwi Burrell was called upon to pinch hit. Burrell had been on the DL for the past two and a half weeks but the sophomore picked the perfect time to return to the line-up. She smacked a double through the infield to score both Corning baserunners and gave Corning a 4-2 lead. Monroe would strike again in the top of the 6th as another Tribune went yard to creep within one run but the Corning defense was able to close the game out in the top of the 7th with two pop-ups and a strikeout to end the game.
The Corning pitching duo of Mennig and Frampton combined to limit the Tribunes to four hits, unlucky for Corning, three of them were solo HR's. Each struck out 5 batters and only one walk was issued. Frampton earned the win. Mennig was hot at the plate, going 2 for 4 with a HR and Hauck finished the day 2 for 2 while Knowlden was also 2 for 4.
Corning will face #3 seed Onondaga CC on Friday at 10am & 2pm in a best of 3 series with the winner advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament in Rochester, MN next week. In their early season match-up, the teams split and were crowned MSAC Conference Co-Champs this season.