Photo courtesy of Star-Gazette/Andrew Legare

CORNING, N.Y. (WENY) - Corning softball advanced to the state semifinals this past weekend after the Hawks took down the then 22-2 North Rockland Raiders.

Corning looks to take on Section 2's Saratoga Springs this Friday at 12 PM at the Martha Avenue Recreational Park in North Bellport, N.Y. which is on Long Island. The Blue Streaks are currently 10-11 on the season and have won their last six games.

Corning-Painted Post head coach Mike Johnston says he teaches and expects toughness from his team. Johnston spoke on how beating North Rockland will carry them into this weekend--with one goal in mind--winning another state title.

"It's nice from a standpoint of, it's good for moral. It builds some community support and what not. It's exciting for the kids especially when you got some younger kids mixed in there. But again, we got the eye on the prize--if you're not number one it doesn't matter. We're just really excited. We think it's gonna be a great weekend. What an opportunity and experience for these kids."

Starting pitcher for the Hawks, Matti Johnston has led the team to success in the regular and post-season. The Sophomore threw a no-hitter in the Section IV Class AAA championship against Elmira.

"It's so exciting and it is nerve wracking", said Matti. "I mean, these teams are amazing. I'm just ready to compete. Every time before we start an inning, my infield and I, we all go, "Okay, let's take a deep breath, 1,2,3..." and we go in. I think that gets us on the same page and same wave-length and we play really well."

First baseman, Daphne Sherman voiced how special the chance to be one of the four last AAA teams in the state is.

"Speaking for the team, we are all very excited for this opportunity and we wanna win so we're ready to play", says Sherman. "I think it will take all of our team to beat them. We need everyone as a whole and I think we can do it. I think we're ready."

Corning softball secured its first ever state title back in 2019 under Mike Johnston. The championship game will take place on Saturday, 6/8 at 11 AM.