Cicero In order to arrive at their latest head-to-head clash for the Section III Class AA championship, the Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool softball teams got there in vastly different manners.
The no. 2 seed Northstars had to lean on a tremendous pitching performance from Megan Tully to slip past no. 6 seed West Genesee 1-0 in Wednesday night’s AA semifinal at the Gillette Road complex.
As that was going on, the top-seeded Warriors scored at least one run in every inning and, led by Peyton Bellrose, pulled away from no. 4 seed Central Square in a 9-0 romp.
Going in, C-NS knew this semifinal would not be an easy one, for it had lost to West Genesee by that same 1-0 margin in an eight-inning thriller back on April 17, with Wildcats ace Morgan Nichols overcoming 11 Northstars hits to maintain the shutout.
C-NS had won the rematch 9-0 on May 8, but it was quickly apparent that, the third time around, Nichols would prove just as tough as she was in April, keeping the Northstars off the board in the first two innings to keep it 0-0.
Tully, meanwhile, gave up a single to Nichols in the top of the first, but from there proceeded to amass eight strikeouts in the first three innings.
In the bottom of the third, Jess Callisto walked, and an error helped get her to third base before Khaliyah Flournory’s grounder to the right side scored Callisto with the Northstars’ lone run.
Nichols would limit C-NS to three hits and, overcoming shoddy defense (WG made six errors), blanked the Northstars the rest of the way.
At the same time, though, Tully was holding the Wildcats without a hit the rest of the way. WG did put two runners on base in the fifth and sixth innings, but each time Tully worked out of it, closing out the game with her 12th strikeout to finish the complete-game effort.