Cicero-North Syracuse softball pitcher Sydney O'Hara, named the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year earlier this week, led the Northstars to its first state Class AA championship since 2006 Saturday in Queensbury, tossing back-to-back shutouts and hitting two home runs in the state final, a 5-0 victory over East Meadow.
All the Cicero-North Syracuse softball team wanted to do was win one more game than it did each of the last three seasons - to "Finish It", as they so succinctly put it.
And the Northstars did finish the task on Saturday, winning the state Class AA championship for the first time since it prevailed on its home diamond in 2006.
At the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury, C-NS turned back Brockport 4-0 in Saturday's state semifinal. Hours later, with Sydney O'Hara showing why Syracuse University coveted her talents in the pitcher's circle and at the plate, C-NS dismissed East Meadow 5-0 in the championship game.
In 2010, 2011 and 2012, C-NS had gone to the state final four and handled the semifinal part of the equation, only to get tripped up at the last hurdle, with two of those title-game defeats taking place at Queensbury, to which it returned again for another championship Saturday.
For the Northstars, especially the senior quartet of O'Hara, Lindsey Silfer, Amy Van Hoven and Kelly Corbin that had gone through those three state finals defeats, there was only one proper way for their stellar high school careers to conclude, and set out to earn that proper ending.
The state semifinal was first, and Brockport, the Section V champions, proved a stubborn foe. Through three innings, it remained 0-0 as Blue Devils pitcher Julia DiMartino matched O'Hara, adding to the tension.
Then Silfer led off the top of the fourth against DiMartino and crushed her fastball well over the center-field fence, a solo home run that pushed C-NS in front 1-0.
Far from done with her heroics, Silfer, from behind the plate, threw out DiMartino trying to steal second base in the bottom of the fourth. Then, with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Silfer cleared them with a double that scored three runs.