Now the next chapter for the Oneida softball team begins.
The Indians roared to a Section III Class A championship in 2009 with a young roster anchored by senior pitching ace Beth Kann.
In 2010, Oneida has most of the everyday lineup back (six starters in all), but coach Mike Curro had to find a pitcher that could handle the awesome task of succeeding Kann.
At least for Tuesday's opener at Whitesboro, the duties were split between Brittany Inman, Maria Rocco and Emily LaSalle -- but it hardly mattered, as the Warriors' long list of mistakes helped the Indians breeze to a 12-4 win.
Down 1-0 early, Oneida used six runs in the top of the second inning to break out in front, then tagged on four more runs in the fourth. Most of that came from poor Whitesboro defense, as it made nine errors by the time it was done.
Amid all that, Jenna Didio still put up four RBIs through a triple and two singles. Erika Williams and Jenn Rougeux earned one RBI apiece as Rocco, who pitched the middle segment, got credit for the win.
Meanwhile, Vernon Verona Sherrill opened with a 2-1 loss to New Hartford, a game that featured a fine pitching effort from the Red Devils' Stephanie Siriano.
Effective all afternoon, Siriano finished with 12 strikeouts and gave up just four hits. Still, the Spartans used unearned runs in the first and sixth innings to go in front 2-0.
VVS had a chance to rally in the seventh, as Ashley Palmer doubled, then scored on Courtney Smith's RBI grounder. But New Hartford pitcher Bianca Pavia recorded the final out.
When VVS played Camden on Thursday, it turned things around, beating the Blue Devils 6-1 as, once again, Siriano pitched well.
All told, Siriano allowed just two hits, and she also crushed a home run as the Red Devils scored three times in the first inning, then tacked on three more runs in the fourth and fifth innings to open up a margin.
As this was going on, Oneida had its first key meeting with New Hartford, and it went eight innings before the Spartans beat the Indians 4-2.
Both sides scored twice in the second inning, Rougeux earning an RBI, after which it settled into a pitcher's battle between Rocco and Pavia, neither side surrendering a run for the rest of regulation.
Finally, in the top of the eighth, the Spartans got to Rocco for a pair of decisive runs, and the Indians could not respond. Raechele Leone led the Spartans with a triple and two RBIs.