The Cicero-North Syracuse softball team's main objective during the Class AA sectional final was to hit the ball early and often and put pressure on the opposing defense.
"We wanted to put the ball in play," C-NS coach Kerry Bennett said. "I love infields like this; I don't like soft, sandy ones. This infield makes the teams have to play defense."
It's safe to say that those objectives were accomplished Saturday as C-NS pounded cross-town rival and defending champ Liverpool 9-1 at the Gillette Road Complex to reclaim the Section III title it held two years ago -- and lost to these same Warriors on this same diamond at Gillette in 2007.
CNS (20-7) slammed out 15 hits in the contest which was plenty of support for junior starting pitcher Erica Gigliotti, who threw a complete game, allowing just one run and shattering eight hits.
She was on her game from the start and took a shutout into the seventh inning before allowing a two-out RBI single to Liverpool's Sharon Dennis. But Gigliotti finished strong and got the next hitter to ground out to cap off a solid pitching performance.
"Liverpool is a very tough lineup to pitch against because they have very good hitters," Gigliotti said. "I definitely wanted to keep the ball down and I focused on making sure that my changeup worked a lot. I knew that my defense would be behind me even if I didn't pitch as well."
Not only did the Northstars dominate from the mound, they also put the game out of reach early on with a constant offensive attack in which they scored at least one run in every inning except the sixth. CNS scored three runs in the first inning alone, with the big blow being a two-run single by junior Morgan Nandin.