MIDDLETOWN - Early scoring and lights-out pitching from Laura Bennett propelled Corning to a 6-4 victory over Section IX’s Warwick Thursday in the sub-regional round of the NYSPHSAA playoffs.

"We hit the ball really hard and got a solid pitching performance on the mound from Laura," Corning head coach Mike Johnston said.

The Hawks came out strong with three runs in the first inning powered by a Laura Bennett bunt that scored Atalyia Rijo and Mikayla Bruice, then an RBI double to left field off the bat of Kalea Faulk.

"That was huge for our confidence to come out of the gate with three runs," said Johnston. "[Warwick] had a huge following there. It generates an energy with our kids."

Rijo and Faulk combined to go 5 for 6 at the plate for Corning.

"[Rijo] and Kalea absolutely crushed the ball tonight," said Johnston. "The fence was 242 feet, so three of their hits would have been out of any park we play in."

Bennett had 12 strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter in the 100-pitch effort for the Hawks. She came out on fire, retiring the first seven Warwick batters.

Warwick finally got the bats going with two runs in the third inning on an RBI single from Brit Tagg and another run came around to score on an error.

"We knew they’re a good ball club." Johnston said. "They started hitting the ball a little bit, but we made adjustments. [Assistant coach] Audrey Rijo did a good job of changing up the game plan."

A Rijo triple extended Corning’s lead to 4-2 in the fifth inning and the Hawks tacked on two more runs in the inning on an RBI double to left from Daugherty and a capitalized Warwick error for a 6-2 advantage.

A Grace Hennessy two-run double cut the Hawks lead to 6-4. Hennessy was cut down at third base trying to stretch it into a triple. Bennett got the next batter to fly out to end the damage.

Bennett recorded three strikeouts and allowed only one base runner in the next two innings, capped off by a punch out to end the game of Tagg after an Ashley Fogg two-out single put the tying run at the plate.

"She was good again, she kept battling," said Johnston of Bennett. "If you wanna go and compete to win championships, I like the ball in her hands."

Corning had 11 hits as a team in the effort, with all nine starters recording base hits for the Hawks.

Corning will advance to the regional round of the state tournament and play John Jay of Section I at 1 p.m. Saturday at Union-Endicott High School.