Baseball Wildcats shock CNS in AA semis

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 it could not have imagined that, when it did so, it would constitute one of the most remarkable 48-hour stretches in the program's history.

During that time, the Wildcats went from an innocuous no. 4 seed to a confident, hard-charging sectional finalist - and did so in the most spectacular way possible.

As an opening act, WG beat Central Square, 1-0, in Thursday's AA quarterfinals as ace pitcher Casey McIntosh threw a perfect game.

And somehow, the Wildcats managed to top that feat on Saturday, going to Gillette Field and blasting no. 1 seed Cicero-North Syracuse 11-3 in the AA semifinals.

All this great work sets WG up for Tuesday's championship game against Utica Proctor, played at DeLutis Field in Rome.

McIntosh's bout of perfection was nice - but WG knew that toppling the Northstars, the dominant team in Class AA for much of the spring, would be even greater.

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, and its 20-1 mark included a 10-3 win at Camillus on May 8.

Instantly, though, the rematch between the Wildcats and CNS had a different tenor.

On back-to-back pitches by Jeff Benz in the first inning, Casey Reale and Ray Sova got plunked and reached base. Both would come home, as Brent Hagen hit an RBI single and Jeremy Connors coaxed a bases-loaded walk.

Benz got pulled, in favor of Grant Nadeau (who was the winning pitcher in that May 8 game), and he settled down enough to allow CNS to tie the game, 2-2, by the end of the second inning.

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