Regardless of the opponent, or regardless of the situation, the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team has answered that challenge.
With its perfect record and lead in the OHSL Colonial National division at stake last Tuesday at West Genesee, the Northstars took full advantage of every mistake from the Wildcats and pulled away in the late going for a 10-3 victory.
Earning its 14th win in a row, the Northstars wasted little time getting to Wildcat pitcher Casey Reale -- and the fielders behind him.
After Ryan Mahoney and Joe Ilacqua reached base in the first inning, Patrick O'Brien lofted a two-out fly ball to center field. Instead of ending the rally, though, the ball fell in front of the Wildcats' Tim Moran, allowing Mahoney and Ilacqua to score. A wild throw on a grounder brought O'Brien home to make it 3-0.
Working smoothly, sophomore Grant Nadeau struck out eight in six innings of work, only allowing a run when Ray Sova coaxed a bases-loaded walk in the third inning.
CNS stayed patient, then chased Reale from the game with two runs in the top of the sixth and added five more runs an inning later as Anthony Brauchle relieved Nadeau to get the last outs.
O'Brien finished with two doubles and three RBIs, as Shawn Moonan, Mike Sherlock, Joe Shepard and D.J. Pastuf drove in one run apiece.
CNS has less than two weeks left in the regular season, with the slate highlighted by Monday's trip to meet its biggest rival, defending Class AA champion Liverpool.