HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Corning softball has claimed another Section IV Class AA crown.

The Corning Hawks defeated the Elmira Express in a close battle for the Section IV Class AA title, on Saturday. Corning outlasted Elmira 6-4 at the Holding Point in Horseheads, with the game staying tied or within a one-run difference for most of the contest.

Corning and Elmira both got off to great starts, tying at 3 a piece in the 2nd. The Hawks stormed out to a 5-3 lead in the 3rd inning after an RBI triple from Peyton Sullivan and a Courtney Searfoss RBI single. The Express brought the game back to within one run in the 4th inning, thanks to an RBI triple from Addisyn Chorney. Small ball was the deciding factor in the game for the Hawks. A sacrifice bunt from Kendall Curreri scored Sophia Polzella, making it 6-4 Corning.

The Hawks were led by their experienced players, seeing a banner day from juniors Sophia Polzella and Peyton Sullivan. Polzella went 2 for 2 at the plate, stole 2 bases, and scored 3 runs. On the defensive side, Polzella threw out a runner at 2nd base in the 5th inning, helping the Hawks maintain a one run edge. Sullivan went 1 for 3 at the plate with 2 RBIs and took 3 total bases. On the mound, Sullivan pitched a complete game, collecting 7 strikeouts.

“I am so excited, said Sullivan. It’s amazing to come back after what we went through last year. We come in clutch when it really matters and it showed today.”

Despite the gritty performance, the Hawks believe there are some things they need to clean up ahead of the NYSPHSAA Tournament. Head Coach Mike Johnston was excited for his team, but thinks they can be even better, looking towards his experienced players to lead the team.

“I am happy for them from a confidence standpoint, said Johnston. We have to be a little more assertive. The person in the circle and behind the plate are our most experienced players and our vocal leaders. The expectation is that those two kids are going to lead us and give the other kids confidence.”

The Hawks now turn their attention to the NYSPHSAA Tournament, with just three-days to prepare. Corning will play in the first round on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Union-Endicott High School. The Hawks will square off with an opponent from Section IX and they believe that their Section title win has prepared them for the challenge.

“We are going to see good pitching, said Sullivan. This game is just preparing us even more.”

The Corning Hawks won their first ever softball NYSPHSAA Title in 2019. The black and gold will look for history to repeat itself, as they defeated the Express for the Section IV Class AA title in 2019, as well.