Two big hits -- one of them powerful, the other well-placed -- served as the main reason why the Liverpool softball team toppled archrival Cicero-North Syracuse once again.
From Emily Dumas' home run in the first inning to Ciara Burke's eighth-inning bloop single that decided it, the 6-5 Warrior victory over the Northstars set a high standard as two teams continued to state their Class AA championship case.
They had met before, in April, the Warriors beaten 9-0 in a non-league game as CNS hit it hard and got spectacular defense from infielders Brittney Lindley and Morgan Nandin.
Now, for the rematch, the Warriors had on the mound Erin Squairs, the left-hander who stunned the Northstars (when it was atop the state rankings) in last year's Clsas AA final. CNS countered with Erica Gigliotti.
Immediately, Squairs met trouble as Lindley led off with a double, then went to third as Jessica Phillips singled. Lucia Meola drove them both in with a long single, and the Northstars had a quick 2-0 edge.
That didn't last long, though. Liverpool quickly got two runners on base in the bottom of the first inning with one out, and Dumas brought them home when she pounded the ball just over the left-center field fence for a home run, her second of the week.
Now ahead 3-2, the Warriors clung to that lead for a while, as Squairs settled down. Yet even when Phillips' RBI single tied it in the fifth inning, Liverpool had a quick answer as it scored twice in the bottom of that frame. Kayla Howard's double led to a run and helped make it 5-3.
So it remained, as it looked like Squairs would finish the deal with two outs and nobody on base. Somehow, CNS forced a comeback with a single, two walks, another single (by Meola) and Brittany Paul's infield hit, all of which tied it 5-5.