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CNS softball reaches state semis, falls to eventual champs

For the remarkable group of seniors on the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team, the appropriate conclusion would be a state Class AA championship, to accompany the one they all achieved in 2006 -- but a mighty force from Long Island disagreed.

West Babylon, with terrific pitching and timely hitting, put a halt to the Northstars' title dreams in last Saturday's state AA semifinal at the BAGSAI complex near Binghamton, handing CNS a 3-0 defeat on its way to the ultimate prize.

That it even got to Binghamton was largely a tribute to Jessica Phillips, one of the members from that 2006 team, who took charge of last Wednesday's Class AA regional final against Shenendehowa at the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury.

Despite the Plainswomen's presence as the no. 1 team in the state AA rankings, Phillips and hear battery mate, Erica Gigliotti, teamed up to humble Shen in the course of a 3-1 victory.

Having never trailed at any time in its run to the Section III Class AA title, CNS had to deal with that small bit of adversity when, in the bottom of the second inning, Lexi Williams doubled and came around to score, giving the Plainswomen a 1-0 lead.

Phillips had thrown out Jen Mongiovi trying to steal second -- which had allowed Williams to race home. Given that, Phillips was hoping for a chance at atonement -- and got it quickly.

In the top of the third, CNS stayed patient against Shen pitcher Amanda Ferro, drawing two walks, along with an infield hit, to load the bases with one out.

Up stepped Phillips, who has the power to take any pitch out of the park. But she didn't need that now, and with a solid swing, Phillips singled off Ferro, allowing the tying and-go-ahead runs to score.

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