Apr 16, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
With the ground ball on the way to second base and a routine out about to be recorded, the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team was going to head into the seventh inning of last Tuesday’s game with Rome Free Academy at Gillette Field staring at a three-run deficit.
Only the throw didn’t make it to first base. And that single mistake, more than any other play, helped transform a costly defeat into a 9-8 victory over the Northstars.
This stunning comeback in the bottom of the sixth was merely the last twist in a wild and consuming drama that featured five lead changes, enough mistakes on both ends to last a full season, and strategy turned on its ear.
Given all that, it was quite fitting that CNS initiated the scoring on what should have been an inning-ending strikeout in the bottom of the second inning.
With two outs, and runners on second and third, Katie Carrick, on a 3-2 pitch, swung at strike three — but Courtney Creedon’s pitch got away from RFA catcher Danielle Phillips, allowing Carrick to take off. When Phillips’ throw to first base went wild, both runners scored.
RFA didn’t fret about it, instead going in front 3-2 in the top of the third off Erica Gigliotti, the key blow being Brenna Ricci’s two-run, two-out triple.
In the bottom of the fourth, CNS took its second lead at 4-3, but left the bases loaded. Fired up by the escape, the Black Knights had Creedon hit a two-run single in the top of the fifth, making it 5-4. Three more runs followed in the top of the sixth.
Now down 8-4, CNS had to find a way back. It started the bottom of the sixth with Carrick’s leadoff double, and she scored on Brittney Lindley singled to make it 8-5.
With two outs, Creedon faced Jessica Phillips and, given the game situation, wanted no part of the CNS slugger, walking her on four pitches. Then Creedon did the same to Lucia Meola, loading the bases.
Up stepped Morgan Nandin, who again stayed patient as the count went to 3-2. On the payoff, Nandin hit that grounder to RFA second baseman Lindsay Barone, whose short throw would end yet another Northstar threat.
But when that throw went off target, two runs raced home. Mere seconds later, Brittany Paul was hitting a single just inside the left-field line, behind third base, and the tying and winning runs came home.
After being shaky all afternoon, Gigliotti gave up a single in the top of the seventh, but got the last outs she needed for the win.
Following this league battle, CNS and RFA played a non-league nightcap, and no big rally was needed as the Northstars prevailed by a score of 9-1.
Accumulating 13 hits, the Northstars had four runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning, which was all pitcher Sara Obrist needed as she tossed a complete game, surrendering just four hits.
Lindley and Paul both tripled in CNS’s 13-hit attack, as Meola finished with three RBIs and Phillips drove in two runs. Nandin, Obrist and Lindsay Flanagan each had one RBI.
CNS then beat Fayetteville-Manlius on Wednesday before going to Ashland, Ohio, this weekend for the annual Wendy’s Spring Classic against a trio of elite teams from the Northeast.