The No. 2 seeded Corning Hawks will look to ride the momentum from their 6-3 win over Union-Endicott in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship in to the first round of the Section IV Class AA tournament as they take on No. 3 seeded Ithaca Friday at 5 p.m.

Corning (12-4) split the season series with Ithaca (10-4) 1-1 with each game appearing on opposite ends of the spectrum for the Hawks.

“Ithaca is an extremely good and talented baseball team,” Corning head coach Eric Kizis said. “We’re going to take the stuff we didn’t do well in the first couple games and try improve on that.”

In the first matchup in Ithaca the Hawks won 4-2 and received a strong pitching performance from Alex Bardo, who tossed five innings and struck out nine while Steven Rossi shut down the Little Red over the final two frames.

Kellan Beall hit a home run in the contest and Trevor Henneman had a 2-for-4 day at the plate.

The second game in Corning the Little Red won 11-1 while scoring all of their runs with two outs. Ithaca put up 11 runs in just three innings led by 4 RBI from Sam Barley including a three-run home run and an RBI single from Holden Lazarus.

Lazarus gave Corning fits on the mound, punching out nine batters through six innings.

Corning scored its lone run of the contest in the sixth inning when Trevor Henneman hit a two out double, followed by an RBI single from Adam Zingler.

“We didn’t have our best outing the last time we played Ithaca,” said Henneman. “We’re really hungry and eager, coming off the STAC championship, we know how to win and compete. We’re just going to leave it all out on the line Friday.”

From that game, Corning has been on a tear, going 8-1 in its last nine games. A key to that run has been getting key hits and Kizis is preaching more of the same heading in to the playoffs.

“We need to hit situationally [against Ithaca],” he said. “We need to get guys on base, move them around and capitalize when we get runners in scoring position.”
The Hawks will be relying on their top and middle of the order heavily this postseason. A trio that includes Canisius bound slugger Trevor Henneman, Adam Zingler and Kellan Beall.

Henneman has set the STAC on fire this season, hitting a blistering .557 with eight home runs and 36 RBI, Zingler is swatting to an average of .525. along with 24 RBI and Beall is hitting a cool .425 with four long balls and 19 RBI.

“The top of our lineup really needs to continue to set the tone,” Kizis said. “Adam and Trevor are like two kids I’ve never coached before. I don’t know if there is a pitcher in the league that can stop them. Between those two and Beall, we’re pretty confident.”

On the opposite side of the ball, the first year coach will have a plethora of options on who will toe the rubber including Rossi, Bardo and Beall all of whom could start Friday’s contest. Both Rossi and Bardo sport earned run averages under 3 and Beall has whiffed 29 batters in just 23 innings.

“We might have each guy throw two innings,” said Kizis. “We’re looking to keep all of our big dogs in the race,”

The winner of the contest will take on the winner of No. 1 seeded Horseheads or No. 4 seeded Elmira in a three game series starting Monday.