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NTL BASEBALL: WARD'S BIG HIT PUSHES CANTON PAST WELLSBORO (2021-04-03)

Northern Tier Sports Report
CANTON — Canton baseball should look into changing their nickname from Warriors to Cardiac Kids after the start of the season they’ve had.

They’re 3-0, and they’ve done it by the skin of their teeth - holding on to beat Athens in the season opener, overcoming a bad first inning defensively to edge CV and now rallying from a 5-run deficit to top Wellsboro 7-6 in NTL baseball action Saturday.


But a close 3-0 is still 3-0, and picking up cross-over victories over Athens and Wellsboro are a strong first step back to winning a league championship, especially as Sayre, the defending champs, opened their season Saturday with a 16-1 win over Athens in a non-league contest.


Canton once again showed the necessary resiliency as they found themselves down 4-0 after the first inning, and were losing 6-1 after the top of the fifth.


However, back to back 3-run innings in the bottom of the fifth and sixth pushed them past the Hornets, a team they out hit 13-6 on the day.


Hudson Ward had the big bat for Canton, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, 3-RBI and two runs scored.


Four other batters had multi-hit games: Cam Bellows (2-for-4), Joel Schoonover (2-for-4), Hayden Ward (2-for-4) and Brendan Matthews (2-for-3). Hayden Ward had a double with a run scored, Schoonover scored twice with Matthews knocking in two runs. Bellows had an RBI as well.


Cooper Kitchen (1-for-4) and Weston Bellows (1-for-3) each scored a run with Carter Route knocking one in.


It was pitching by committee for Canton again, using three arms to tame Wellsboro’s bats.


Hayden Ward started and went 2 1/3-innings, striking out one while allowing three walks, five hits, and five runs, three of which were earned.


Brendan Matthews came on for the next two innings, striking out one with one walk, one hit and one earned run.


Schoonover went the final 2 2/3-innings to get the win, striking out two with four walks, but no hits or runs.


Isaac Keane led the Hornets in their opener, going 2-for-4, both doubles, with 2-RBI.


Brock Hamblin got the start, and went 4 1/3-innings for the no decision. He struck out one with 10 hits, one walk and four earned runs.


Cameron Brought came on for the final 1 2/3-innings to get the loss. He allowed one walk, three hits and three earned runs.


The Hornets used a 2-out rally, and back to back doubles, to take a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. They added another run in the second to go up 5-0.


Canton got one back in the bottom half of the inning as the Ward’s led off with back to back singles. After two outs were made a Cameron Bellows single scored Hudson Ward to cut it to 5-1.


No more runs were scored until the top of the fifth when Keane doubled in Darryn Callahan to extend the Wellsboro advantage back to five runs.


The bottom half of the inning is when Canton had their first rally, which was started by Schoonover’s lead off single. 


Two batters later Hudson Ward doubled Schoonover in. Hayden Ward then doubled to put runners on second and third with one out. 


Matthews came up with the big hit, singling to left field to score both Wards, cutting the deficit to 6-4.


The Warriors were at it again in the bottom of the sixth as they loaded the bases off a Kitchen single, Weston Bellows walk and Schoonover single.


With no outs Route sacrificed Kitchen into make it 6-5.


Then with 1-out Hudson Ward doubled to right field to score Weston Bellows and Schoonover to give Canton the 1-run lead.


The Hornets then threatened in the top of the seventh, using three walks to load the bases with 1-out.


Schoonover then got a big strikeout for the second out, followed by inducing a fly-out to secure the win.


Canton will get their first shot at Sayre on Tuesday as they travel to Riverfront Park for a 4:30 p.m. start.


CUTLINE: Canton’s Hudson Ward looks to make contact against Wellsboro Saturday…PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING.



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