Apr 24, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In arguably its most crowded stretch of the season, the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team continually turned away attempts at seizing its throne — sometimes with ease, other times with great effort. It also moved closer to a milestone.
By far, the greatest effort was exerted last Saturday, at Oswego, where a tense, eight-inning duel ended with the Northstars edging past the Buccaneers 3-2.
Oswego, off to a 4-0 start, did not flinch when CNS went in front. They traded runs in the first inning, and when the Northstars went back in front, the Bucs stayed patient, then tied it in the bottom of the sixth.
So it went into extra frames at 2-2. In the top of the eighth, Brittney Lindley tagged a single off Abby Martin. She then moved into scoring position, and when Lucia Meola smacked her own single, Lindley raced home.
Again protecting a one-run lead, Lindley made it stick in the bottom of the eighth, giving CNS its fourth win in a span of 48 hours.
Two of those victories had come on Friday night, at Gillette Field, where CNS met Rome Free Academy for the first time since last year’s spellbinding Section III Class AA final, won 1-0 by Jessica Phillips’ eighth-inning home run.
Phillips would play a central role again as the Northstars swept the Black Knights, prevailing 6-3 in the opener, then 15-0 in the nightcap.
The modest opening game saw Lindley surrender two runs in the top of the first on Alyssa Karsten’s home run, only to have CNS answer with five runs over the next two innings, which was more than enough.
All told, Lindley gave up just four hits. Stephanie Mix doubled and drove in two runs, while Lindley, Maggie McDonald and Morgan Nandin earned one RBI apiece.
Quiet in that first game, Phillips grabbed center stage in the second game, propelling CNS to an 11-run first inning that erased all doubt about the outcome.
Phillips, in all, smacked two home runs, finishing with six RBIs. Lindley also went deep and drove in four runs, while Allee Emmi, Stephanie Sylvia, Natalie Wright, Danielle Gaimari and Katie Carrick each drove in single runs.
Given all those early runs, Erica Gigliotti could relax on the mound. She promptly tossed a two-hit shutout that included eight strikeouts.
More offense was on display in the first two innings of Monday’s 9-0 victory over Baldwinsville.
CNS got all of its runs in the first two innings, eventually gaining 17 hits off Anna Hammill. Nandin, McDonald and Lindley all hit triples as Meola and McDonald led the team with two RBIs apiece.
This spurt began last Thursday, when CNS blasted Nottingham 21-0. As Gaimari pitched a one-hitter, her teammates pounded out 19 hits, as Meola and McDonald each had three RBIs. Gaimari, Lindley, Stephanie Wickert and Meghan Robinson earned two RBIs apiece.
All this followed a valuable road trip, where the defending state Class AA champion Northstars managed to travel to Ashland, Ohio for the Wendy’s Spring Classic Invitational and play four times, splitting those games.
In one close contest, CNS needed a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Keystone, 3-2.
Gigliotti, getting her turn on the mound, allowing just a pair of fourth-inning tallies. Lindley earned a pair of RBIs, while Phillips drove in the other run.
Also, CNS rallied past Bloom-Carroll, 9-8, in a wild affair. The Northstars were up 6-0 by the second inning, only to see Bloom-Carroll use four-run outbursts in the third and fifth innings to catch up.
Unfazed, the Northstars went back in front with three runs in the top of the sixth, and Lindley overcame her early mound struggles (she allowed 10 hits) to blank Bloom-Carroll the rest of the way.
Lindley was also lethal at the plate, with a home run, double and four RBIs. McDonald doubled and drove in two runs, while Nandin and Gigliotti earned one RBI apiece.
Otherwise, the Northstars took a pair of one-run defeats. It fell, 3-2, to Canfield, when Gigliotti allowed three runs in the top of the sixth inning, overcoming doubles by Phillips and Meola.
The other defeat was a 1-0 contest with Dalton where Lindley allowed just five hits, but saw Dalton score in the bottom of the seventh inning to decide it. CNS, for its part, had just three hits.
When CNS beat B’ville on Monday, it marked the 499th win of head coach Kerry Bennett’s career. He will try and get no. 500 Tuesday, when the Northstars host Utica Proctor, before a Wednesday rematch with Oswego.