May 26, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In just a couple of innings on a windy Sunday afternoon, the work of an entire season by the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team, which included a 15-0 start and a rise to the no. 2 spot in the state Class AA rankings, got halted in an abrupt and powerful manner.
The top-seeded Northstars fell, 10-4, to no. 5 seed Oswego in the Section III Class AA semifinals at Gillette Field, a game where the Buccaneers used a quartet of home runs, two of them by Josh Carney, in the first two innings, to put C-NS in a hole it could not climb out of.
Nothing that happened in the lead-up to this game indicated that C-NS was about to get toppled. It had a 19-1 record, and had shut out no. 8 seed Rome Free Academy 7-0 in Thursday’s rain-soaked quarterfinal.
In that game, Steven Theetge pitched six innings, holding the Black Knights to four hits and striking out three. At the plate, Vince Mallaro hit a solo home run, his third in the last four games, while Paul Vinciguerra went four-for-four with two RBIs. Brandon Kapcinski added two hits and scored a pair of runs.
Meanwhile, Oswego, the no. 5 seed, had not played its AA quarterfinal game against no. 4 seed Fayetteville-Manlius until Saturday due to a pair of rain-outs, and had used its ace, Ryan Lavner, in a tough 3-2 victory over the Hornets.
Seeing this, perhaps C-NS relaxed, glad not to see an F-M squad that had given the Northstars its lone regular-season defeat. If so, Oswego wasted little time making C-NS pay attention.
Before Jesse Farabee could record an out in the top of the first inning, it was already 2-0, the Bucs getting a runner on base before Lavner drilling a two-run home run. A double and hit batsman followed, and Carney promptly drilled a Farabee offering well over the fence, and it was 5-0 before C-NS even got a chance to hit.
And the Bucs were far from done. In the top of the second, a walk and force play led to Brandon Schultzke hitting a fly ball that rode the wind over the left-field fence for Oswego’s third round-tripper. Seconds later, Carney went deep a second time and the Northstars trailed 8-0.
Farabee went out, and C-NS’s star reliever, Will Apps, entered the game. But Apps found his own trouble, surrendering a run in the third inning that increased the Northstars’ deficit to 9-0.
Given that big margin, Oswego pitcher Tom Dillon stayed calm and kept the potent C-NS lineup in check, only allowing single runs in the first and sixth innings despite numerous Northstars chances to build game-changing rallies.
Finally, Dillon tired with two out in the bottom of the seventh, after the Bucs pushed across another run in the top of that frame. C-NS scored twice and loaded the bases, forcing Oswego to turn to Brandon Schultzke, who coaxed Mike Mento to pop out to end the game.