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CNS baseball begins title defense, tops RFA

Accomplishment and irony have accompanied the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team through recent years.

Most often, the Northstars have been glorious in the regular season -- and ordinary in the post-season, knocked out far short of its championship goal.

So naturally in 2009 CNS fell back a bit in the regular season, only to recover and conquer Fayetteville-Manlius, Utica Proctor and Auburn to earn the Section III Class AA title.

Head coach Kevin Rockwell saw nine seniors depart, including pitching ace Grant Nadeau, Aaron Hildreth, T.J. Jaquay, Steve Salamone, Kevan Smith, Josh Werksman, Fred West and Matt West. But enough talent is back to think that a repeat is possible in 2010.

It sure looked good in the opening act last Monday afternoon, when the Northstars went to DeLutis Field and bagged Rome Free Academy 10-3.

RFA had all the early fun, grabbing a 3-0 lead through three innings. But CNS broke through against Black Knights pitcher Brandon Bertrand the second time around the order, getting four runs in the fourth inning and, to put it away, scoring five times in the top of the seventh.

Matt Dykeman and Jack Hotaling each had a double and two RBIs, while Mark Centolella added an RBI in his varsity debut. On the mound, sophomore Joe Pokrentowski went most of the way, earning the win as James Coleman pitched scoreless relief.

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