May 24, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A whole lot happened at Gillette Field during the annual John Ilacqua Jr. Memorial Tournament on May 22 and 23, and at times it had nothing to do with the host Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team.
The record book would show that CNS beat Fayetteville-Manlius 13-6 in the opening round, then lose the final 9-6 to Class B powerhouse Westhill, but that only told part of the story.
In the opening round, when Westhill beat Jamesville-DeWitt 18-0, Warriors sophomore Jack Ganley pitched a perfect game, retiring all 21 Red Rams batters he faced with just one strikeout. A series of great defensive plays helped maintain the masterpiece.
Next to that, the Northstars beating F-M for the second time in 24 hours (it topped them 6-4 in a league game on May 21, also at Gillette) was rather routine.
Still, it featured CNS twice coming back. Down 3-2 in the third inning, it got a pair of runs, then added a fourth-inning tally to make it 5-3.
F-M used three runs in the fifth inning to go ahead 6-5, only to see the Northstars break it open with eight runs in the bottom of the sixth, making a winner of pitcher Joe Pokretowski, who relieved Steve Salamone.
Matt West, with a home run, double and three RBIs, anchored the CNS comeback. Brian Hamilton, John Howell, Riley Moonan and Matt Dykeman drove in two runs apiece, with Aaron Hildreth and Kevan Smith also driving in runs.
F-M went on to beat J-D 5-3 in the consolation game, but the final between CNS and Westhill proved to be quite good.
The Warriors led 4-0 early, thanks mostly to Ryan Malley’s three-run double in the first inning, but CNS chased Nick Downs from the game with six runs in the bottom of the second. Hildreth, Smith, Hamilton, Dykeman, Fred West and Matt West each had an RBI.
Westhill freshman Kevin McAvoy relieved Downs, escaped the second, and proceeded to blank CNS the rest of the way in a five-inning gem. Even when CNS put two runners on base in the bottom of the sixth, McAvoy struck out Moonan and Matt West.
Rob Renaud saw a relief stint after Mark Rinella struggled at the start. He allowed Westhill to tie it with two runs in the third inning and a run in the fourth, and though Austin Hyde pitched well in relief, he saw Len Graf’s two-run home run in the top of the seventh clinch it on the Warriors’ behalf.
The Northstars’ fast finish to the regular season meant that it gained the no. 2 seed for the Class AA playoffs and a bye straight into Thursday’s quarterfinal – which could be yet another meeting with F-M, if the Hornets get past Rome Free Academy. The finals are June 2 at Alliance Bank Stadium.
Meanwhile, the CNS softball team starts as the top seed in Class AA, and will play F-M or Utica Proctor in the quartterfinals on Saturday.