Jun 05, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
With one more chance to play in front of the home folks at the Gillette Road Middle School complex, the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team gave them another taste of the winning formula that has worked so well over the years.
Another strong pitching performance from Sydney O’Hara, combined with a deep, potent lineup that got better as the game went along, helped the Northstars blank Guilderland 7-0 in last Tuesday’s Class AA regional final.
The quest to get the state title that just eluded C-NS each of the last three years was not about to be halted by a Lady Dutch side that had not made it this far in 15 years prior to beating Bethlehem in the Section II title game on May 31.
In many ways, the Northstars’ regional game followed the pattern of its June 1 sectional final win over Liverpool, with some early offense, a key blast at the plate from O’Hara and her usual domination in the pitcher’s circle.
Of the first 12 Guilderland batters that faced O’Hara, nine of them struck out and two of them (Mallory Harrigan and Tori Greco) walked. Only one of them put the ball in play, a second-inning groundout by Abby Deck.
Meanwhile, C-NS quickly seized a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, making Lady Dutch pitcher Taylor Tewksbury pay for a walk to O’Hara that followed Amy Van Hoven’s leadoff single. With two out and runners on second and third, Morgan Phillips drilled a double that scored Van Hoven and O’Hara.
Thanks to superb Guilderland defense (including a second-inning double play), it remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth when, with one out, O’Hara came to the plate. Still without a hit (she had flew out in the third after that first-inning walk), O’Hara took care of that problem.
Timing Tewksbury’s pitch perfectly, O’Hara crushed it well over the right-field fence, one of the longest home runs of her illustrious C-NS career, and it was 3-0.
Just to be sure, C-NS gained four more runs in the sixth. Consecutive hits from Khaliya Flournory, Beth Bonin, Kelly Corbin and Brooke Szabo, the no. 6 through 9 hitters, scored two of those runs, and Van Hoven tacked on an RBI double before Lauren Floyd’s sacrifice fly scored the final run.
O’Hara still had a no-hitter going to the top of the seventh, but gave up a clean double to Jenna Cubello and an infield hit to Tori Rathwell before getting the final out and returning C-NS back to the state final four.
And it is here, at the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury, that the Northstars aim to grab the top prize that just eluded them each of the last three years with state finals defeats.
In Saturday’s semifinal game at 11 a.m., C-NS takes on Section V champion Brockport, a team it beat 5-1 on May 12 during the Morabito Tournament in Herkimer when Kalet Lenart, the Northstars’ other pitching ace, tossed a two-hitter of her own, while Phillips and Lindsey Silfer hit home runs. The winner advances to the title game later that afternoon, at 4:30.
“We have 14 innings to go,” said head coach Mary Beebe. “We’re peaking at the right time.”