BINGHAMTON - Horseheads overcame a six-run deficit to edge Corning 9-8 in the Section IV Class AA softball finals held Saturday at BAGSAI.

“The girls worked really hard, they got down early and they knew they had to fight back,” Horseheads head coach Megan Zoerb said. “They did what they needed to do to get the win. It was a good game for the girls.”

Down 7-1 in the fifth inning, Tess Cites blasted a mammoth grand slam to right field after an RBI single from Maiah Skakal pulled the Blue Raiders to within 7-6 and breathed new life into the squad.

“The mood kept going up and up from there,” said Cites. “Once it happened we got our spark back and knew that if we kept pushing and grinding we could get it.”

Zoerb had little doubt about the sophomore’s ability to get it done in the big moment.

“Tess thrives in those situations,” said the head coach. “I was pretty confident with Tess, I was happy that she was able to get the job done.”

The Hawks added an insurance run in the top of the sixth on an RBI single to right field from Olivia McLellan that scored Ataliyah Rijo and extended their lead to 8-6.

In the bottom of the inning, Horseheads fired back, with three straight singles, including two bunt singles, from Olivia Evans, Delanie Rogers and Lacey O’Donnell that set up Kendal cook who ripped a two-run double over the center fielders head that tied the game.

The next batter, Alli Richmond, gave the Blue Raiders their first lead of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Horseheads starter Madison Rogers tossed a scoreless seventh inning to secure the victory and the Blue Raiders’ first sectional title since 2009.

“I was very excited to be able to take the win today,” Zoerb said. “The girls worked so hard for it, I couldn’t have wanted it for a better group.”

Rogers finished with five strikeouts over five innings, while Cook finished 3-for-4 and Tess Cites finished with two hits and 4 RBI.

Corning built up a 5-0 lead on the strength of a Lexie Easling two-run home run to left field in the first inning and Ellie Daugherty smacking a three-run home run to right field in the fourth. Olivia McLellan also finished 3-for-3 with an RBI for the Hawks.

Laura Bennett tossed six innings and punched out five batters for the Hawks.

Horseheads will face the Section 1 champion at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Union-Endicott High School in the regional semifinal.

“We have to continue to work hard,” said Zoerb of states. “Especially when we get in tough situations, we’re going to be continuing to see good teams like Corning. Just making sure we keep battling no matter what the score is.”