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Northstars, Warriors cruise to AA softball semis

With one more victory, the Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool softball teams will have another head-to-head showdown Saturday at Hopkins Road Park with the Section III Class AA championship on the line.

Given the top two seeds for the AA tournament, the Northstars and Warriors would play their respective quarterfinal games on Saturday afternoon and win big.

CNS, unbeaten and atop the state AA rankings, made it 20 wins in a row by unloading on no. 9 seed Auburn in a 15-3 romp at Gillette Field.

Quickly getting to Maroons pitcher Ali VanGiesen, the Northstars scored four times in the bottom of the first inning, tacked on four more runs in the next three innings and batted around during a seven-run rally in the fifth.

Amy Van Hoven was unstoppable, with five hits in five trips to the plate, including three doubles, as she scored three times and added two RBIs. Brittany Paul and Sydney Harbaugh each got three hits, with Sydney O'Hara and Sarah Salamone both joining Paul and Van Hoven in driving in two runs apiece.

O'Hara also pitched a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts, though Van Giesen broke up the possible shutout with a three-run home run in the sixth.

A bit earlier in the day, Liverpool, the no. 2 seed, also gave up a long ball to no. 7 seed Fayetteville-Manlius, but it did not stop the Warriors from easily taking out the Hornets 9-3.

Ashley Kovarik got jolted when, in the top of the first, F-M's Amy Bright hit a long solo home run. That only seemed to wake up the Warriors, though, as it answered with five runs in the bottom of the first, taking the lead for good as it chased Hornets starter Kelly Muller from the pitcher's circle. Nicole Ciricillo's two-run double was the key blow.

Four more runs in the next three innings would follow, as Kovarik and Terra Lawler joined Ciricillo in the two-RBI column and Briana Harris also drove in a run. Alicia Hansen had two hits and Lucia Castellani crossed the plate twice.

In Wednesday's AA semifinals at Hopkins Road, Liverpool meets up with no. 3 seed West Genesee, who beat Rome Free Academy 6-3 to get this far, while CNS gets no. 4 seed Oswego, who took out Central Square 5-2.

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