Apr 15, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For more than three decades, Kerry Bennett had the best possible view as he built a softball dynasty at Cicero-North Syracuse that piled up Section III and state championships.
But when the Northstars met main rival Liverpool Monday afternoon at the Gillette Road complex, Bennett, the subject of a controversial dismissal from his job in August of 2012, was on the opposing side, assisting Warriors coach Nick Spataro.
Regardless of the view, the result was familiar – a C-NS victory, attained with plenty of pop at the plate as it beat both Liverpool and the rain to prevail by a score of 10-5 in six innings.
Unless large amounts of runs are involved, first innings usually are not that decisive in softball, but what happened here proved quite instructive.
Getting its first look at C-NS pitcher Megan Tully, Liverpool, who had started the season 3-0, punched across a pair of runs. But that 2-0 lead did not last long as the Northstars got to Peyton Bellrose with three runs in the bottom of the first.
Tully settled down, blanking Liverpool over the next three innings and giving her teammates ample time to add to that 3-2 lead. And it would.
A two-run second inning chased Bellrose, and with Dana Nicoletti taking over, C-NS got to her, too, as in the bottom of the fourth Katie Scott, who already had a two-run double, banged a pitch over the fence for a three-run home run, her second of the season, to break the game open.
Now trailing 8-2, Liverpool tried to come back to life, with a run in the fifth and two more runs in the sixth. C-NS held on, though, and when heavy rains hit the Gillette complex in the seventh, the game was stopped.
All told, Scott managed five RBIs, while Lauren Floyd and Morgan Phillips each managed three hits and combined for three RBIs. Floyd also scored three runs as Phillips, Scott and Beth Bonin each scored twice. Khaliyah Flournory added a pair of hits.
On Liverpool’s side, Bellrose doubled and drove in a run, with Alicia Hansen and Mackenzie Harris each getting two RBIs. But Tully kept the Warriors from getting the big game-breaking hit, overcoming 10 hits with four strikeouts as she did not allow a walk.
For all the good that this win did for C-NS, it did not carry over into Thursday’s game against visiting West Genesee, as a host of scoring chances were wasted away and the Northstars lost, 1-0, to the Wildcats in eight innings.
A pattern quickly emerged in the game as, inning by inning, C-NS would get someone on base due to a hit, and every time Morgan Nichols would get out of it, helped by good control and an error-free defense that kept making the plays it needed.
Tully matched Nichols through seven innings of regulation and would finish with 14 strikeouts. But in the top of the eighth, WG’s Sierra Smith reached base, and when Alli Nave doubled, Smith raced home with the go-ahead run
One more time in the bottom of the eighth, C-NS used a hit to get a tying run to scoring position, but with a pop fly in the infield and a pair of grounders, Nichols again escaped, and earned the win.
Despite the loss, Flournory, Scott and Jess Callisto each produced two hits. All the other starters had at least one hit, too, adding to the frustration of the defeat. WG’s Jenna Amidon managed two of her team’s four hits against Tully.
So as C-NS was forced to regroup again, Liverpool made its way to a week of games in Myrtle Beach, S.C., eagerly looking forward to the warmer temperatures and, of course, looking ahead to the May 5 rematch with the Northstars.