CORNING - Corning advanced to its first Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship since 2011 game Monday with a 2-1 victory over Susquehanna Valley.
"We've won seven in a row, we're finding a way to win and that's improtant," Corning head coach Mike Johnston said. "We know the most important stat is the win. We had clutch hitting from Atalyia [Rijo] and good pitching from Laura [Bennett]."
Tied at one in the bottom of the seventh inning, Olivia Keegan put down a bunt with Erin Austin on second base and an error from Alex Deeter that tipped off the first baseman's glove and into left field scored Austin to propel the Hawks.
Susquehanna Valley scored the first run of the contest, and had its only hit, on a towering home run to right field off the bat of Bella Gaskins in the fifth inning.
"Gaskins is a powerful kid, but Laura came back and struck out the next batter," said Johnston.
Besides the solo home run, Laura Bennett held the Susquehanna bats quiet with 12 strikeouts over a seven-inning span and no walks.
Corning tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with an Atalyia Rijo triple to left field.
Jasmyn Allen pinch hit for Stansfield with a 1-1 count and drew a walk before Stansfield re-entered and scored on the triple.
"Our kids embrace their role and are unselfish," Johnston said.
Rijo had two of the Hawks' four hits with Mikayla Brucie and Laura Bennett contributing the other knocks.
The Hawks will advance to the STAC Championship game today at 4:30 p.m. against Maine-Endwell Middle School.
Corning topped the Spartans 4-0 earlier in the season in the teams' only meeting in Maine-Endwell.
"I thought we had some timely hits in that game and I thought Laura was really good on the mound," said Johnston. "We have to be on our game, Maine-Endwell is a great team."