Apr 28, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In a span of less than 10 hours on Thursday, the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team just may have turned its entire season in a new – and more promising – direction.
Schedule changes meant that the Northstars would, on this day, visit Fayetteville-Manlius in the afternoon, and then turn around and go to NBT Bank Stadium to face Oswego that night as part of the annual Strike Out Lou Gehrig’s Disease Classic.
C-NS would win them both, getting another gem from pitching ace Steven Theetge in a 7-0 shutout over F-M and then gaining some long-awaited payback on Oswego in a 9-1 romp.
Against the Hornets, who were off to a 5-0 start, the Northstars wasted little time, getting to F-M starter Jackson Wheeler for four runs in the top of the first inning.
A run in the third and two runs in the fourth added to that cushion, Jake McArdell leading the way at the plate with three RBis as Mike Copani scored twice. Jesse Farabee and Josh Rodriguez also drove in runs.
Meanwhile, Theetge, echoing his performance in a 7-0 shutout of Liverpool exactly a week earlier, went the route this time, holding F-M to five hits and one walk while earning 13 strikeouts.
Hours later, at the home of the Syracuse Chiefs, C-NS took aim at an Oswego side that, famously, had beaten them in last May’s Section III Class AA semifinal and had knocked off the Northstars 1-0 earlier this month, Josh Carney edging Theetge in a pitcher’s duel.
Everything changed on this night, though. Jason Shandler was superb on the mound, holding the Buccaneers to three hits in 5 1/3 innings of work and getting strong defense behind him.
And the C-NS hitters steadily pounded away at Buccaneers pitchers from the start, scoring once in the first inning and twice in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings on its way to 17 hits overall.
Farabee, Justin Teague and A.J. Nesci each got three hits, with Nesci doubling twice and earning a career-high four RBIs as Farabee also got a pair of doubles. Owen Dziados added an RBI as Rodriguez and Antonio Nesci each scored two runs.
This sweep was made more important by what happened back on Monday, when C-NS hosted West Genesee and rallied from a four-run deficit, but still lost 7-5 to the Wildcats.
This battle of potential Class AA title contenders saw WG go in front 4-0, only to gradually give back that margin in the game’s middle and late stages.
By the time Farabee smashed a two-run, two-out double in the bottom of the sixth inning off relief pitcher Evan Richel, the game was a 5-5 tie.
Farabee took over pitching duties in the seventh after Ryan Nadeau had gone 4 2/3 innings of relief, caused by sophomore starter David Verrett’s early ouster.
But Will Randall greeted Farabee with a leadoff double, and then dashed to third base on a passed ball. With BeVard at the plate, the question was whether Farabee would pitch with caution, or challenge BeVard to get a strikeout or, at worst, surrender a single run to prevent more damage.
The answer came when Farabee’s pitch hung in the strike zone and BeVard crushed it, nearly 400 feet beyond the right center-field wall. This two-run shot put WG back in front.
To stay there, though, the Wildcats needed relief pitcher Sean McConnell to get the final outs. He did, getting Anthony Spataro to take a called third strike that sealed the Wildcats’ victory.
WG had gained that 4-0 lead through scoring twice in each of the first two innings. Meanwhile, pitcher Seamus Barry was effective through most of his five-inning mound stint. WG was efficient at the plate, too, managing a run in the fourth despite facing just five pitches in five at-bats, which led to a single, sacrifice bunt, foul popout, RBI single (by Randall) and groundout.
Still, Barry tired in the fifth, C-NS cutting the deficit to 5-3 on Theetge’s RBI double, and would tie things up before BeVard and McConnell turned the final outcome against the Northstars.