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Baseball Northstars ousted by playoff newcomer

C-NS takes 3-1 first-round defeat to Syracuse West

— In the end, things just never clicked for the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team, its 12-8 season defined as much by the narrow defeats as by all it accomplished.

So it was fitting that the Northstars, unaccustomed to early exits from the Section III Class AA playoffs, did so in another close affair, falling to no. 11 seed Syracuse West 3-1 last Tuesday at the Gillette Road complex.

Late-season struggles had dipped C-NS to the no. 6 seed. In an 11-team sectional tournament field, it meant that the Northstars was the highest seed to face an opening-round game.

Syracuse West, the newly-formed entry that combined teams from Corcoran and Fowler, had lost to C-NS 3-2 in the rain on April 26. For the rematch, West sent Ryan O’Neill to the mound to oppose the Northstars’ Joe Pokrentowski.

Quickly, West got in front, 2-0, with single runs in the first and second innings. Pokrentowski settled down and didn’t allow any more runs until the seventh, when West got one more rally before Will Apps showed up in relief.

More than anyone else, Liam Kirst hurt C-NS, reaching base four times with a single, double and two walks, scoring twice and adding an RBI. O’Neill and Matt Thompson also drove in runs.

C-NS only got to O’Neill in the bottom of the fifth, cutting it to 2-1 as Eric Hamilton’s hit, one of three on the afternoon, scored Joe Bodnar. Paul Vinciguerra added two hits, but O’Neill blanked the Northstars the rest of the way, striking out six, just one less than Pokrentowski.

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