May 14, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Entering a challenging final week of the regular season, the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team was still unblemished, at 14-0, but quite aware that its long streak could end at any time.
That time arrived Monday afternoon, at Fayetteville-Manlius, where the state no. 2-ranked Northstars ran into Hornets left-hander Jack McClure and didn’t get on the board in a 2-0 defeat.
A large part of this was the confidence F-M had gained this month. Once 5-5, the Hornets brought a five-game win streak to the C-NS game, and it caught the Northstars at an awkward point in its schedule.
C-NS had not played since last Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Utica Proctor, a five-day break caused by bad weekend weather that had canceled the John Ilacqua Jr. Memorial Tournament. This game also fell just before the Northstars’ much-anticipated showdown with Baldiwnsville on Wednesday night.
On a cold, raw afternoon, it wasn’t a surprise that the pitchers would dominate. Through three innings, McClure and his C-NS counterpart, Steve Theetge, kept the game 0-0, the Northstars getting runners on base but unable to do anything with them.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth, J.P. Quinn drew a walk, and immediately stole second base. With a runner in scoring position, McClure promptly drilled Theetge’s offering up the middle, the single scoring Quinn and putting F-M in front 1-0.
Back on the mound, McClure continued to frustrate the Northstars, maintaining that 1-0 edge until the sixth, when the Hornets got some insurance and, once again, Quinn and McClure were involved.
Josh Loeffler led off with a single, just the third hit allowed by Theetge, who finished with 10 strikeouts. After a sacrifice bunt from Nate Olson, Quinn flied out, which moved Loeffler to third. McClure then hit a grounder that turned into a C-NS error, and Loeffler raced home.
All that was left for McClure was to get the final outs – which he did, locking up a complete game where he did not allow a walk and earned four strikeouts against the seven hits he allowed.
F-M did not bask in this win too long, for it turned around Tuesday and, with a 3-2 victory over Oswego, clinched the CNY Counties League American division regular-season title.
Meanwhile, C-NS, for the first time, had to bounce back from a defeat – and do it against Baldwinsville and its ace, Pat Merryweather, who didn’t pitch when the Northstars beat the Bees 10-4 on April 25.