At the culmination of a busy and exciting stretch of games, the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team took care of Utica Proctor last Tuesday afternoon, beating the Raiders 8-1 at Gillette Field.
The result was typical -- but the milestone gained by head coach Kerry Bennett was not.
With this win, Bennett reached 500 victories for his career, the first Section III softball coach to do so. Players and fans marked the occasion with a certificate, cake and balloons after the game was done.
Since Bennett took over the CNS program in 1984, the team has won nearly 81 percent of its games, claimed 17 league titles, 12 Section III championships, and earned state titles in 1989, 1999, 2004 and 2006.
Every element that has made the Northstars so tough and powerful in Bennett's tenure was on display against Proctor, from speed and power at the plate, to domination on the pitcher's mound.
Erica Gigliotti cemented her growing reputation, allowing six hits but keeping the Raiders from anything other than a sixth-inning run.
By that point, the Northstars were already in control. It scored three times in the third inning off Kayla Brennan, then gained five runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the milestone victory away.
Jessica Phillips hit her second home run of the season, added a double, and finished with three RBIs. Brittney Lindley also went deep for the second time this spring and drove in two runs, while Katie Carrick and Morgan Nandin also earned RBIs. CNS finished with 10 hits.