May 23, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Undefeated and atop the state Class AA rankings entering the final week of the regular season, the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team still had a series of high-quality opponents to deal with before the playoffs hit – and beat them all.
Oswego came to Gillette Field last Tuesday night and had the Northstars in some trouble before a late burst of offense produced a 6-3 win over the Buccaneers.
Immediately, Oswego got to pitcher Sarah Salamone for two runs in the first inning. CNS trailed, despite a run in the third inning, until the fifth, when it scored twice off Bucs ace Emily Kolenda to seize a 3-2 edge.
Unfazed, Oswego quickly tied it up in the sixth, 3-3, but the Northstars would have the last push, getting to Kolenda for three decisive runs in the bottom of the sixth before Salamone, who had five strikeouts, pitched a scoreless seventh.
Sydney O’Hara did not get a trip in four tries, but Brittany Paul made up for it with four hits as she earned an RBI, as did Sydney Harbaugh, Amy Van Hoven and Morgan Phillips. Harbaugh scored three of her team’s runs as Lindsey Silfer and Anna Melfi also crossed the plate.
After the Northstars blanked Corcoran 19-0 on Thursday, it pulled off another shutout on Friday, this time dusting off Class A contender Jamesville-DeWitt 7-0.
Salamone pitched in the latter of the two games, improving to 10-0 on the season as she held the Red Rams to two hits – or one less than Brittany Paul earned all by herself. Phillips drove in two runs as Salamone, Kelly Corbin, Sam Cirillo and Jenna Tartaro earned one RBI apiece.
This led to Saturday’s regular-season finale, against a possible challenger in West Genesee. And one big rally made the difference as the Northstars topped the Wildcats 6-2 to make it 19 wins in a row.
O’Hara was pitching now, and suffered an early blemish when the opposing pitcher, Ashley Amidon, drilled a shot over the center-field fence in the top of the second to put WG up 1-0.
So it remained until the bottom of the third. With two out, CNS had runners on second and third, and O’Hara was at the plate. Given that she was hitting above .600, it was little surprise that Amidon worked a 3-0 count, and a walk appeared inevitable.
But two strikes followed – and on the 3-2 pitch, O’Hara drilled the ball up the middle, a two-run single to put her team ahead. Sparked by this, Cirillo and Phillips both smacked run-scoring doubles and Salamone had an RBI single, making it 5-1.
Needing nothing more, O’Hara proceeded to hold the Wildcats to five hits while amassing 13 strikeouts, and added a double at the plate as CNS scored again in the bottom of the fifth.
That 19-0 mark gave the Northstars the top seed for the Class AA playoffs, plus a chance to rest. It will return to the field for Saturday’s quarterfinal against either no. 8 seed Baldwinsville or no. 9 seed Auburn. The semifinals are June 1 and the final is June 4 at Hopkins Road Park in Liverpool.
Speaking of Liverpool, it got the no. 2 seed in the playoffs and will meet Fayetteville-Manlius in Saturday’s quarterfinals following a trio of wins that closed out its regular season.
This was capped by Friday’s trip to Baldwinsville where it put together an 8-3 win over the Bees. Though it was quiet in the early going, the Warriors still took a 1-0 lead. But it started to get away with two runs in the fourth inning, plus a run in the fifth, and added four more runs in the top of the seventh.
Ashley Kovarik, who held B’ville to four hits and shut them out until the seventh, also had a double and three RBIs. Angela Charles drove in two runs, while Nicole Ciricillo and Alicia Hansen earned one RBI apiece and Hansen got two stolen bases.
Liverpool had its most lopsided result of the season last Tuesday afternoon, when it hosted Nottingham and did not let up until it put together a 26-1 romp over the Bulldogs.
And the run production continued Thursday in a 19-3 victory over Fayetteville-Manlius. Here, the Warriors scored five times in the first inning and added a four-run second and six-run romp through the fourth inning to decide things early.
Carrie Stoddard’s four hits included a home run, two doubles and five RBIs. Hansen managed five hits as she scored
three runs and earned three RBIs. Brianna Harris drove in two runs as she and Lucia Castellani both matched Hansen in scoring three times. Michelle Hopkins and Terra Lawler earned one RBI apiece.