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Northstars handle Liverpool in AA softball final

O'Hara throws three-hitter, hits pivotal home run

Cicero-North Syracuse senior Amy Van Hoven (2) makes solid contact with a pitch during Saturday's Section III Class AA final against Liverpool at Syracuse University. Van Hoven and the Northstars shut out the Warriors 5-0 for its fourth consecutive sectional title.

Cicero-North Syracuse senior Amy Van Hoven (2) makes solid contact with a pitch during Saturday's Section III Class AA final against Liverpool at Syracuse University. Van Hoven and the Northstars shut out the Warriors 5-0 for its fourth consecutive sectional title. Larry Jones

— “It was ball (four),” said O’Hara. “I just read it quickly, and turned on it.”

After that first delivery that plunked LaRose, O’Hara retired 10 in a row prior to Alicia Hansen’s fourth-inning single, and Hansen was promptly thrown out by catcher Lindsay Silfer trying to steal second.

Since she was facing the Warriors for a third time this spring, O’Hara said she had gained a knowledge of how to tackle Liverpool’s lineup - which hitters to be careful with, others to attack - and used it here, to good effect.

Back-to-back doubles from Flournory and Beth Bonin made it 4-0 and forced a pitching change, as Dana Nicoletti replaced Bellrose. Without a hit, Bonin made it home with a stolen base and wild pitch for the Northstars’ final run.

Liverpool’s best chance to break up the shutout came in the sixth, where singles from Burgos and Ericka Sadowski put runners on first and second with two out.

Hansen was up, and hit it hard - but flied out to deep center, and the Warriors went quietly in the seventh, O’Hara striking out the side to seal yet another Northstars sectional title.

But there was no big celebration, just some high-fives and smiles and a knowledge that C-NS, who lost in the state finals each of the last three years, wants a lot more.

“They were nervous and excited,” said head coach Mary Beebe. “But the big games are still ahead.”

O’Hara, for one, is confident in her team’s ability. “If we keep playing the way we’ve been playing, we’re pretty good,” she said.

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