Cicero Alex Caruso worked with timely precision. Ryan Contegni worked with ruthless efficiency.
Together, the pair helped Liverpool's baseball team edge past Cicero-North Syracuse 4-3 in Friday night's latest chapter of this fierce local rivalry at the Gillette Road complex.
The two sides had not met since last year's Section III Class AA final at Alliance Bank Stadium, which the Warriors won 9-5 after trailing 4-0 at one point.
In many ways, this game mirrored that title game, right down to having left-hander Joe Pokrentowski start for the Northstars. Contegni, a senior right-hander, opposed him.
Again, C-NS took the lead, courtesy of a three-run second inning keyed by Corey Burrows' two-run double to the wall. Again, Liverpool came back, tying it 3-3 in the top of the third as Contegni doubled home one run and scored the other on a wild pitch.
From there, both sides missed multiple chances to break the deadlock. Will Apps relieved Pokrentowski in the sixth inning and Liverpool put the go-ahead run on third base before Tyler Bliss grounded out.
So they were still even, 3-3, as the top of the seventh inning got underway. Apps had to face the top of the Liverpool order - and on his very first delivery, he plunked Nick Pilotti, putting the go-ahead run on base.
After Contegni moved Pilotti to second on a sacrifice bunt, Caruso stepped up to the plate. As a pitcher, Caruso won that 2011 sectional final, but in this game he had only played a supporting role, reaching base on an error in the first inning that led to the Warriors' initial run.
That changed here, as Caruso drilled a single to right field, allowing Pilotti to race home with the tie-breaking run. Caruso was thrown out trying to steal second, which stifled a larger rally because Pat Wright and Steve Baldini followed with singles, but Matt DiPaulo hit into a force play.