Once their head-to-head regular-season showdown was behind them, the Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool baseball teams went after other opponents - mostly with successful results.
In particular, the Northstars faced a tough slate that began in earnest last Thursday when it hosted perennial Class AA contender Utica Proctor - and used a combination of timely hits and mistakes from the other side to beat the Raiders 12-4.
They were tied, 3-3, through three innings, though it nearly was more. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, Riley Moonan hit a shot just inside the fence that, instead of a grand slam, was ruled a ground-rule double.
That hardly mattered, though, as CNS broke the game open with five runs in the bottom of the fourth, all with two outs. Brian Hamilton brought in two of those runs with a ground-rule double, and as a whole the Northstars benefited from Proctor committing six errors.
As for CNS pitcher Kyano Cummings, he didn't get much help, either, as his teammates made four errors. But he improved as the game went on, finishing with 11 strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Just before that, the Northstars went to DeLutis Field and flattened Rome Free Academy 18-1. CNS achieved at least one run in all seven innings on its way to 17 hits in support of pitcher James Coleman, who struck out eight.
Jake Farabee scored four times and finished with two RBIs. Riley Moonan singled, doubled, tripled, scored twice and drove in two runs as Mark Centolella went three-for-three with three RBIs. Corey Burrows also drove in three runs, with Eric Hamilton and Geige Dziados earning two RBIs apiece.
All this led to Saturday's John Ilacqua Jr. Memorial Tournament, a three-game round-robin that proved memorable in all kinds of ways.
It started with CNS dropping a 6-4, 10-inning decision to Fayetteville-Manlius, a team it had beat 3-1 a month earlier. And it looked like the same would happen here when ace Joe Pokrentowski retired 16 batters in a row and the Northstars scored twice in the bottom of the sixth.