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Warriors drop extra-inning regional thriller

Knocking off the state's top-ranked team to win a Section III Class AA championship was nice. Do that again, and the Liverpool softball team would be in the state final four.

And the Warriors came awfully close to pulling it off.

In last Wednesday's Class AA regional final at the Gillette Road complex, Liverpool made two different comebacks against Section II power Shenendehowa, only to fall in eight innings to the Plainsmen, 3-2.

This was the exact same score by which Liverpool had stunned defending state champion Cicero-North Syracuse in the sectional finals on June 2. It was also the team's fourth straight one-run game in the post-season.

Toughened by all the close calls it had survived to get this far, Liverpool waited out a 24-hour, rain-induced postponement of the regional game, pondering the fact that it was going up against a Shen team steeled from winning five consecutive sectional titles.

Amanda Clark was back on the mound at the start, but got into trouble in the bottom of the second inning, when the Plainswomen loaded the bases with one out. All Clark allowed was a sacrifice fly, as Liverpool escaped the inning with a modest 1-0 deficit.

Still, that was enough evidence to convince the Warrior coaches that it couldn't wait for things to get worse. Erin Squairs, the sophomore left-hander and pitching hero of the CNS victory, entered in the third inning and smoothly mowed down the Shen batters over the next three frames.

Meanwhile, Plainswomen pitcher Angie Sagnelli was showing Liverpool hitters why she is going to Syracuse University this fall. The senior lefty cruised through her first four innings of work and maintained her team's 1-0 advantage.

But in the top of the fifth, Liverpool got to Sagnelli. Anna Panzetta reached base on an error, and Sharon Dennis followed with an infield hit. They moved to second and third base on a groundout.

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