Apr 08, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
From the moment the 2012 state Class AA championship game ended in bitter defeat, the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team has devoted itself to getting back to that point and winning it all this time around.
Of course, the off-season did not just inlclude working toward 2013. It also included a late-summer furor that surrounded the sudden firing of coaching great Kerry Bennett, which only added more fuel to C-NS’s fire for the upcoming spring.
Mary Beebe was the choice to take over as head coach. She had served as an assistant to Bennett from 1996 to 2008. Between that and her club coaching for 15 years with the TC Tremors, she has proven a good fit for the Northstars.
Just as important was the talent and leadership coming back to the team this season. Sydney O’Hara, Amy Van Hoven, Kelly Corbin, Lindsay Silfer, Brooke Szabo and Morgan Phillips all return, bringing a blend of power, defense and speed that is difficult to stop.
O’Hara, the pitching ace and top hitting threat headed for Syracuse University next year, wasted little time establishing herself to the opposition. In Monday’s opener against Fayetteville-Manlius, she was nearly perfect in the course of a 14-0 shutout of the Hornets.
Having struck out 32 in 11 innings of scrimmages at the Carrier Dome in late March, O’Hara proceeded to get 18 K’s on this day, five times striking out the side on her way to a no-hitter.
It nearly was better. Sam Guillaume was F-M’s lone baserunner, drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch in the top of the fifth. That, plus Corbin’s snare of a hard grounder from Tricia Miller in the fourth, were the only real scares O’Hara faced.
Offensively, C-NS struck for two runs in the first and took charge with five runs in the bottom of the third, all with two outs. Freshman Beth Bonin and Szabo, the no. 8 and 9 hitters, respectively, both had two-run singles.
By the time O’Hara came to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, she had only picked up one hit in three at-bats. But that changed here as O’Hara crushed a Marisa Duval delivery deep over the right-field fence, despite hitting into a modest breeze, for a grand slam.
A day later, it was much the same story at Oswego, and what made it so scary for future opponents was that C-NS dominated the Buccaneers 15-0 while its other senior ace, Kalet Lenart, showed off her pitching prowess.
Lenart, who would be the top pitcher on just about every other team in Central New York, shut down Oswego, holding them to three hits and one walk while picking up 14 strikeouts.
And the bats remained hot, C-NS scoring in each of the first five innings, peaked by an eight-run outburst in the third as O’Hara went deep for the second time in as many games.
Van Hoven, a change from past Northstars leadoff hitters due to her power, had a double, triple and four RBIs. Szabo tripled and drove in three runs, while O’Hara and Silfer each had two RBIs. Khalyia Flounory, one of the few new faces in the C-NS lineup, pounded out two doubles, scored twice and added an RBI.