Cicero Just before April concluded, the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team had a brief letdown, courtesy of the same opponent that denied them a state Class AA championship one year ago.
The Northstars lost, 5-4, in eight innings to John Jay-East Fishkill Sunday afternoon in the Blue Chip High School Challenge at the BAGSAI complex near Binghamton.
What made it more frustrating for C-NS was that it jumped on John Jay with three runs in the top of the first inning and led 4-2 as late as the fifth inning, perhaps ready to avenge that 8-2 defeat to the Patriots in the June 2011 state title game.
In the bottom of the fifth, though, the Patriots pulled even, 4-4, with a pair of runs off Northstars pitcher Kalet Lenart, and then the Patriots won it with a run int he bottom of the eighth.
The fact that C-NS ace Sydney O'Hara did not pitch here, but did go on to blank Corning 3-0 later in the day with a one-hit, 14-strikeout, meant that the Northstars fully believe it could play John Jay again, barely a month from now.
In the meantime, the Northstars returned home and immediately got back to putting away the local competition.
That started Monday, with a showdown against Auburn, who had raced out to a 9-0 start this spring. Thanks to another fine pitching performance from O'Hara and steady offensive production, the Northstars gave the Maroons its first blemish by a 9-0 margin.
O'Hara had her second one-hit shutout in as many days. She struck out eight of the first 10 batters she faced and ended up with 13 K's overall, only surrendering that single hit, plus two walks and a hit batsman.
At the plate, C-NS got to Auburn pitcher Ali VanGiesen with single runs in the first two innings, brought home by O'Hara's single and Sydney Harbaugh's triple. Three more runs followed in the bottom of the third, two of them driven in by Lindsey Silfer's double.