Driven by high emotions and a determination to join the elite, the West Genesee baseball team planned for a long stay in the Section III Class AA playoffs.
Yet few people could have imagined the kind of history the Wildcats would achieve along the way, courtesy of senior pitcher Casey McIntosh.
All McIntosh did in the Wildcats' 1-0 victory over Central Square in Thursday's AA quarterfinal was toss a perfect game.
Twenty-one batters came up to the plate against McIntosh. All 21 were retired, 12 of them through strikeouts, as the senior right-hander required just 85 pitches to sail through the Red Hawks' lineup.
Only once did WG's defense have to work too hard. Tom Murphy ripped a drive to the right-center-field gap in the fourth inning, only to see Casey Reale flag down the ball with a diving grab.
For much of the game, Central Square ace Ray Preston was just as stingy as McIntosh, blanking the Wildcats through the first five innings of play.
But in the bottom of the sixth, WG broke through. Joe Kesler reached base, worked himself into scoring position, then scored the game's only run when Ray Sova ripped a single, one of just two hits Preston allowed all afternoon.
This gives WG a chance to do something even greater, as it goes Saturday to Gillette Field to meet top seed Cicero-North Syracuse in the AA semifinals.
In stark contrast to WG's air-tight battle with Central Square, the Northstars blew away Rome Free Academy 18-2 in the quarterfinal round, scoring eight times in the first inning and adding nine runs in the third inning for good measure.
CNS finished with 19 hits, including a Patrick O'Brien home run. Ryan Mahoney earned four RBIs, as Joe Shepard drove in three runs and Joe Ilacqua earned two RBIs.
The Wildcats and Northstars met once this season, on May 8 in Camillus, with the Northstars prevailing 10-3. The stakes in the rematch will be much higher - namely, a trip to Tuesday's AA final at Rome's DeLutis Field against Utica Proctor or Fayetteville-Manlius.