While the double-digit win streak and the ability to get out of tough jams was something the Liverpool baseball team appreciated, it knew that the biggest test of the regular season awaited them in its three-game showdown with rival Cicero-North Syracuse once the weather dried up.
Accordingly, it was important for the Warriors not to look past its series with West Genesee, something that it managed thanks to tremendous pitching, especially in the opener, a tense 2-0 victory over the Wildcats.
WG starting pitcher Billy O’Brien only lasted two innings, but reliever Brian Hartnett went the rest of the way for WG, only giving up single runs in the fourth and sixth innings as Jake Evans and Jonah Harder scored those runs on the Warriors’ behalf.
After starter Jeff DeStefano exited in the fifth with that two-run lead, Andre Leatherwood held the lead until the seventh, when WG loaded the bases with nobody out on three consecutive singles off Owen Valentine. The tying and winning runs were on base.
Again, the Warriors went to the bullpen and Nick Antonello took over. Aided by a pair of strikeouts, Antonello stranded all three of those runners and, for the time being, kept Liverpool unbeaten as it won its11th game in a row.
When these two teams met again on Thursday afternoon, the combination of big early-game production and strong pitching from Joel Cicciarelli helped Liverpool beat West Genesee by a 7-1 margin.
Not wanting any late-game tension, the Warriors chased Wildcats starter Marshall Winn with four runs in the top of the second, adding two runs in the third and a run in the fifth, this despite only getting six total hits.
Harder notched three RBIs, with Jacob Sisto adding a single, double and two runs scored. Antonello had a pair of RBIs as Tom Bianchi and Joe Zywicki each drove in single runs. Meanwhile, Ciciarelli, in five innings of work, limited WG to five hits before Harder struck out three in his successful two-inning relief stint.
While all this was going on, C-NS was going through an extreme contrast in its results of two games against Fayetteville-Manlius.
The first game saw the Northstars rout the Hornets 16-0, taking command with a five-run third inning and six runs in the top of the fourth. More runs would follow as pitcher Chris Cramer combined with reliever Josh Ludden on a three-hit shutout.
Brendan Reilly, with three hits, led a 16-hit Northstars attack. Connor Stanton scored three times and drove in three runs as Dylan Frawley and Joe Brisson had two RBIs apiece. Joe Mallaro and Michael Jenkins each scored three times as Mallaro, Tim Schinto, D’Ante Zapanta and Tristen Cummings drove in one run apiece.
After all this, the second game on Thursday dragged out to 10 innings, and F-M got even, edging C-NS 2-1.
Following Frawley’s first-inning single that scored Reilly, the Northstars were shut out the rest of the way as the Hornets’ duo of Chris Maloney (5 2/3 innings) and Kyle Walters (4 1/3 innings) combined for 10 strikeouts and just four hits allowed.
Together, they would outlast C-NS ace Luke Dziados, who saw his 1-0 lead disappear when F-M scored in the bottom of the fifth. Dziados kept it tied until the eighth, when Ben Christian took it over and maintained the 1-1 draw until the Hornets, with two out in the bottom of the 10th, plated the winning run.