Three games, spanned over just three days, all against top-flight opposition -- and all a chance for the Baldwinsville baseball team to stake an undisputed claim as a Class AA championship contender.
The series culminated Thursday afternoon, against defending champion Cicero-North Syracuse, where the Bees' experience -- and youthful promise -- both came to the forefront in a 5-1 victory over the Northstars.
Going into the season, everyone knew that B'ville had a strong core of returning stars, from seniors Bo Watson and Brett Earle to juniors Dan Dubiel and Mike St. John.
What's become apparent early this season is just how good the newcomers are. Freshman catcher Gabe Levanti is on a hitting tear, with two sophomores, Connor Martin and Brett Charbonneau, manning the middle of the infield and two juniors, Kyle Lattanzio and Danny Wright, starting in the outfield.
CNS quickly found out how it looks when the entire formula works together. Watson, a big and imposing presence on the mound, gave up a first-inning run, then blanked the Northstars the rest of the way, earning eight strikeouts.
By scoring twice off James Coleman in the bottom of the first, B'ville went ahead for good, and it tacked on two more runs in the fifth, plus a tally in the sixth.
Improving his average to .467, Levanti bashed a home run and finished with two RBIs. Watson, Martin and Charbonneau drove in the other runs.
Back on Tuesday afternoon, the combined pitching of St. John and Kyle Cushman shut down Fayetteville-Manlius in a 7-0 shutout.
Going five innings, St. John allowed just one hit. Cushman's two innings of relief work featured four strikeouts (he struck out the side in the sixth inning) and one more hit.
A pair of first-inning runs set the tone as, after Watson walked, Wright hit a bases-loaded single up the middle. Levanti's second-inning sacrifice fly made it 3-0, and the Bees tacked on two-run rallies in the third and sixth innings.