All the waiting for the Westhill baseball team to begin its quest for a third consecutive state Class B championship is over.
On a brisk Friday afternoon, with the promise of warmer temperatures in the near-future, the Warriors took to the diamond for the first time in 2011 and resumed its winning form, beating the Cazenovia Lakers 7-2.
Many of the key players that produced those back-to-back state titles, including Dan Karleski, Cory Hewitt, Mike McMullen, Len Graf, Jake Rush and Greg Schmidt, have departed. Yet two big stars remain - pitching ace Kevin McAvoy and Nathan Nigolian, both of them fresh off leading Westhill's boys basketball team back to the state Class B final four in Glens Falls for the second year in a row.
Nigolian didn't even play against Cazenovia - but McAvoy did, and he starred both at the plate and on the mound.
All of Westhill's runs came in the first four innings, where McAvoy had three hits, including a double, and finished with four RBIs. The Warriors' first four hitters - McAvoy, Mark Syron, David Graf and Nick Vitgaliano - accounted for most of Westhill's hits on this day and scored all the runs, too, with Vitagliano crossing the plate three times.
As if that wasn't enough, McAvoy also pitched two scoreless innings, striking out five. Alex Godzak went four innings for the win, allowing just one hit while recording five strikeouts of his own. Kyle Fedrizzi also saw an inning of relief work.
Westhill gets key league tests against Marcellus and Skaneateles early this week, then plays Fayetteville-Manlius before its annual April trip to Myrtle Beach. S.C., for more game action and lots of fine-tuning.