Apr 05, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
On her first swing in her first at-bat during her first game of the season, Cicero-North Syracuse softball star Sydney O’Hara hit a home run.
In her second at-bat, O’Hara went deep again – and those pair of round-trippers set the Northstars on its way to a 13-6 victory over archrival Liverpool Thursday afternoon.
C-NS began the 2012 season looking for nothing less than a return to Queensbury’s Adirondack Sports Complex on June 9 for the state Class AA final four. A year ago, the Northstars got there and reached the state championship game before falling 8-2 to John Jay-East Fishkill.
Head coach Kerry Bennett returns a strong core from that team, which includes O’Hara, Sydney Harbaugh, Brittany Paul, Amy Van Hoven, Lindsey Silfer and Jenna Tartaro.
This game against Liverpool would be the only time the two rivals would meet in the regular season. The Warriors were already 2-0, having shut out West Genesee (3-0) and Fayetteville-Manlius (9-0) in the two days leading up to its clash with C-NS.
O’Hara’s first plate appearance came with two out in the top of the first inning and Harbaugh on third base. Liverpool pitcher Carrie Stoddard delivered – and O’Hara crushed it more than 50 feet over the right-field fence to give C-NS a 2-0 lead.
Stoddard offered an answer in the bottom of the first with a two-out RBI double, and when Brianna Harris followed with a single to drive home Stoddard, Liverpool tied it, 2-2.
The tie didn’t last long. In the top of the third, Van Hoven’s RBI single pushed C-NS back in front, 3-2. Then, with two on, O’Hara delivered again, this time drilling Stoddard’s offering over the center-field fence for a three-run home run.
As if that wasn’t enough, Tartaro delivered a two-run home run to cap the Northstars’ decisive six-run rally and make it 8-2. Liverpool never got closer than five runs again as C-NS would tack on a run in the sixth and four runs in the seventh, two of them coming home on Van Hoven’s double.
Though at times wild in her pitching effort, O’Hara still went six innings and recorded 12 strikeouts. Harris had four RBIs overall, smashing a three-run triple in the bottom of the seventh.
Whatever the result here, Liverpool could feel good about how its opener had gone at West Genesee, as it gained a small bit of payback by shutting out the Wildcats 3-0.
No doubt, the Warriors remembered that WG beat them, 4-3, in last year’s Class AA semifinal. And it provided some extra focus, something that Stoddard, in particular, thrived on.
Stoddard shut down the Wildcats’ bats, giving up just two hits, both singles. Also, the Warriors’ defense minimized mistakes, committing just one error.
That last fact proved important because WG made five errors, which helped Liverpool as it scored twice in the third inning and a single run in the fifth. Hansen doubled, tripled and scored twice as Holly Clark scored the Warriors’ other run.
Then the Warriors made it back-to-back shutouts on Wednesday, blanking Fayetteville-Manlius 9-0 in its home opener.
Four first-inning runs, and three more runs in the second, quickly put Liverpool in control, and pitcher Dana Nicoletti made it stick, throwing her own one-hitter that included five strikeouts.
All told, the Warriors broke out for 17 hits. Harris tripled, doubled twice, scored three times and finished with four RBIs, while Clark and Nicoletti matched Harris, each getting three hits of their own. Nicole Cerrone added a pair of RBIs.