Liverpool Amy Van Hoven dealt with two choices in the matter of a few seconds during the first inning of the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team's duel with Liverpool for the Section III Class AA championship Saturday at Hopkins Road Park.
First, Van Hoven had to choose whether to tag up from third base on Jessy Silfer's fly ball. She said that, with the game scoreless, it was a chance to put her team in front, so she decided to take off.
The throw was low, but to the plate on time, and Van Hoven had another decision to make, to slide and try to dislodge the ball from Liverpool catcher Nicole Cerrone, or do something else.
"I knew if I slid, I would be out," she said. "So I jumped. It was more of a reaction than anything else."
That's right, Van Hoven jumped over Cerrone's tag attempt and put her foot on home plate, scoring the first run and sparking the Northstars to another dominant performance as it shut out the Warriors 12-0 for its third consecutive sectional AA title.
Any runs were going to be ample support for junior pitching ace Sydney O'Hara. In the first three innings, O'Hara struck out seven of the nine batters she faced. By game's end, she had a one-hitter in the books, including 10 strikeouts and two walks allowed.
The game broke open in the bottom of the third inning. Sydney Harbaugh opened the rally with a bunt single, stole second and raced home on Van Hoven's double. O'Hara's single plated Van Hoven and made it 3-0.
Then, with runners on first and second, Morgan Phillips hit a fly ball that was dropped in the outfield, allowing two more runs to score. Another run came home on a dropped third strike, expanding the margin to 6-0.