Though the Liverpool baseball team lost twice in the regular season to Cicero-North Syracuse, it was the Warriors moving past the early rounds of the Section III Class AA playoffs, while the Northstars exited early.
In last Saturday’s AA quarterfinal, the no. 2 seed Warriors, whose late-season charge had created that lofty seed, maintained that momentum, leading to start to finish as it eliminated no. 7 seed Rome Free Academy 7-2.
Immediately, Liverpool got to the Black Knights’ starting pitcher, Colin Shunk, scoring a run in the first and three runs in the second to grab a 4-0 lead. Two more runs in the fourth forced Shunk to exit, and the Warriors tacked on a run in the fifth.
Luke Gilbert and Nick Claver led the way, each of them producing two hits and two RBIs. Don Pauldine also had two hits, driving in a run as Jason Schulz scored twice and Michael Wright also got an RBI.
Claver also pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits and two walks, but only surrendering single runs in the fourth and fifth innings as he picked up four strikeouts.
The exit for C-NS was particularly painful because it came in an nine-inning, 3-2 thriller against no. 4 seed Fayetteville-Manlius, another side it had defeated twice during the spring.
Not only had the Northstars won those games, it had done so with the same pitcher, Steven Theetge, that would try to beat the Hornets again as Mike Hoalcraft got the start for F-M.
Hoalcraft matched Theetge pitch-for-pitch, and in the bottom of the fourth got some help when F-M pushed across a run to grab a 1-0 lead. That didn’t last long, as the Northstars tied it, 1-1, in the top of the fifth.
And it stayed that way through seven innings of regulation, plus an eighth inning. Then, in the top of the ninth, C-NS got a pair of hits off reliever Sean Brown (who had replaced Hoalcraft in the eighth) and also plated a run to inch in front, 2-1.