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.