Whether on a familiar proving ground, or seeking redemption 12 months later, the Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool softball teams both made it back to the Section III Class AA semifinals in their own manners.
The top-seeded, defending champion Northstars had to be patient against no. 8 seed Rome Free Academy in last Saturday’s AA quarterfinal before some late offense led to a 5-0 victory over the Black Knights.
Meanwhile, the no. 2 seed Warriors jumped all over no. 7 seed Central Square, unleashing lots of offense and crushing the Red Hawks 18-2.
For four innings at the Gillette Road complex, RFA pitcher Halie Schoff matched the effort of her counterpart, Sydney O’Hara, keeping the game 0-0. But with O’Hara working her way to another one-hitter that included 17 strikeouts without a walk, it was just a matter of waiting for the runs.
They came in the bottom of the fifth, when C-NS scored three times off Schoff. Three more runs followed in the sixth, and it was the bottom of the the order that hurt the Black Knights.
Jenna Tartaro smashed a home run and earned three RBIs. Cassie Franklin’s double drove in two more runs as Lindsey Silfer had two hits and scored.
Everyone for Liverpool would hit against Central Square, especially Carrie Stoddard. In five trips to the plate, Stoddard managed three hits and earned an astonishing nine RBIs, the most by any single Warrior player in a game this season.
It all started in the second inning, when the Warriors batted around and got six runs. And 12 more runs would follow in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings on the way to 13 hits overall.
Brianna Harris doubled twice and earned three RBIs, while Alicia Hansen had a double and drove in a pair of runs. Dana Nicoletti, aside from her three hits and three runs scored, also pitched, striking out 12 Central Square batters against six hits and one walk.
On Wednesday night at 7:30, the Warriors go to Hopkins Road Park to meet no. 6 seed West Genesee in the AA semifinals. In this same round, and at this same venue, the Wildcats stunned Liverpool a year ago, so it’s a chance for payback as WG knocked off no. 3 seed Auburn 4-0 to get this far.
This follows the other AA semifinal at Hopkins, where C-NS meets no. 4 seed Oswego, who needed a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh to get past Baldwinsville 6-5. The finals are Saturday, also at Hopkins.