In order to claim the Section III Class B-2 championship, the Cazenovia would need to overcome all sorts of obstacles, chief among them the task of winning three road games in six days.
Now two-thirds of that task is done, and Saturday's B-2 semifinal may have provided the sweetest victory so far as the no. 5 seed Lakers knocked off top seed and defending champion Clinton 11-3.
With that win, Cazenovia will get to travel to Rome's DeLutis Field Monday night to play for the B-2 title against no. 2 seed Sherburne-Earlville. The Marauders topped Adirondack 7-4 in the quarterfinals and blanked General Brown 5-0 in the semifinals.
The Lakers' task against Clinton appeared formidable. Clinton was home, armed with plenty of strong athletes and lots of post-season experience. It also grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning, adding to the challenge.
But the Lakers tied it in the top of the second and then made its big move in the third, battering Clinton pitchers Anthony Rizzo and Mike Hayduk for five runs to seize a 6-1 lead. Three more runs followed in the fourth, all but putting the game away.
Cullen Franz, with three hits and three RBIs, led a balanced Cazenovia attack that finished with 15 hits overall. Brian Gara also drove in three runs, while David McEntee and Brodie Kellish each had two RBIs. Ben Langey and Chad Warren scored two runs apiece and Billy Bigsby earned a pair of hits.
Meanwhile, Liam Rogers blanked the Warriors in the second through fifth innings. Overall, he went 5 1/3 innings and gave up just four hits, striking out three. Chris Matteson worked the remaining 1 2/3 innings in relief for the save.