Softball: Northstars fall in finals again

Two-run rally in sixth inning lifts Clarence to state title

— The Cicero-North Syracuse Northstars found itself in an all-too-familiar position following Saturday's state Class AA softball title game: wearing the runner-up medals.

Section VI champion Clarence scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out a 3-1 victory over C-NS at the Morse Sports Complex.

It's the third straight loss in the state finals for the Northstars and the first state title for the Red Devils.

"It sucks coming in second three years in a row," said C-NS coach Kerry Bennett. "You've got to play well at the right time, and we didn't."

The Northstars were down a bat when Brittany Paul left Glens Falls following Saturday morning's 2-1 semifinal victory over Valley Central (Section IX), but it didn't look like they would miss a beat as they put two of their first three hitters on base against Clarence. Sydney Harbaugh led off the top of the first with a single, and Sydney O'Hara followed with a one-out double.

Lindsey Silfer drove in Harbaugh with a long fly out to left field for the game's first run, but Clarence pitcher Katie Bull got Morgan Phillips to line out to center field to end the top of the first with C-NS ahead 1-0.

O'Hara made the lead stand through three innings of hitless ball. Along the way, the junior pitcher struck out five Clarence batters.

The mood changed in the bottom of the fourth, though, when Clarence's Tori Nappo belted a solo home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 1.

"It was a hanging ball, so it was a mistake," said O'Hara. "That's okay. It happens."

C-NS had a chance to take the lead in the top of the sixth inning. O'Hara reached second base when her fly ball glanced off Jill Horvath's glove in left field. Silfer's sacrifice bunt moved O'Hara to third with one out, but Bull induced Phillips to hit a soft liner to second baseman Mo Rogers and got Jenna Tartaro to ground out to shortstop Katie Milone to end the threat.

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