May 06, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
The longer it stayed undefeated, the more a target the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team would become – but at least so far, the state Class AA no. 3-ranked Northstars have turned back every possible challenge.
That included last Tuesday’s game against Syracuse West, where the Northstars again were pushed to the wire, but again won in its last at-bat, beating West 4-3.
Even a three-run first inning by C-NS, keyed by Eric Hamilton’s two-run trouble, did not faze West as pitcher Nate Boughton settled down and blanked the Northstars over the next five innings.
Meanwhile, West got back in it with two runs in the top of the second, and though Austin Frawley shut the door for a while (he only allowed four hits in six innings of work, striking out five), he surrendered the tying run in the top of the sixth.
So it was 3-3 going to the seventh. Reliever Will Apps shut down West, and in the bottom of the seventh Owen Dziados walked, moved to second on a sacrifice, and sped home with the winning run on Mike Mento’s clutch single.
So began a stretch of four games in five days. Just one of them was on the road, a visit to Falcon Park on Wednesday to face 8-3 Auburn, but what looked like a potential danger spot turned, instead, to a strong team performance as the Northstars pulled away to beat the Maroons 8-2.
After surrendering a pair of second-inning runs, pitcher Steven Theetge shut the door on Auburn, going the route as he gave up just one walk and seven hits, striking out three.
A 2-1 deficit vanished when C-NS scored twice in the top of the third off the Maroons’ pitching ace, Josh Charles. Then the Northstars pecked away, with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to make it 5-2 before clinching it with three runs in the top of the seventh.
Vince Mallaro and Justin Teague each had three hits, with Mallaro smashing the game’s only home run. Teague earned a pair of RBIs as he, along with Mallaro and Paul Ludden, scored two runs apiece. Hamilton chimed in with a pair of hits.
Another tough game appeared to loom Thursday night, when C-NS hosted the same Syracuse East side it had fought hard to beat 4-2 just six days earlier. But the timing of the game had much to do with the Northstars winning by a more comfortable 14-6 margin in the rematch.
Since C-NS had seen East’s starting pitcher, Jeff Belge, in that first meeting, they knew what to expect, and that led to early production that helped erase an early 2-0 deficit.
The Northstars scored a run in the first inning and two more in the second on run-scoring hits from Teague and Mento. Then it appeared to break the game open with five runs in the bottom of the third, all with two outs, which chased Belge from the mound, Owen Dziados getting a two-run single in the middle of the barrage.
East kept fighting, pulling back within 9-6 in the top of the sixth, but C-NS had a ready answer, scoring five more times in the bottom of the sixth to put it away.
Mallaro hit his second home run in as many games, as Teague and Mento both got three hits and three RBIs. Paul Vinciguerra doubled and drove in a run as C.J. Szczesny, in his first start since the April 25 game at Baldwinsville, went five innings to earn the win, striking out five.
C-NS then hosted Utica Proctor on Saturday afternoon, and proceeded to earn its 13th straight win by again reaching double figures in a 13-2 romp over the Raiders.
The Northstars took charge in the bottom of the second, breaking a 1-1 tie by scoring four runs. Then it scored twice in the third and fifth innings before tacking on four more runs in the sixth, gathering up 18 hits along the way.
Hamilton had three of those hits – a home run, double and triple – and earned four RBIs. Paul Vinciguerra stepped up, too, going four-for-five with two doubles as he drove in three runs, while Mento doubled, scored four times and earned two RBIs. Brandon Kapcinski scored three runs as he, along with Teague and Jake McArdell, got one RBI apiece.
All of this gave ample support to pitcher Jesse Farabee, who had another quality start, going six innings and allowing just five hits and three walks.
In Monday’s game at Oswego, C-NS would aim for 14 in a row, followed by a Wednesday rematch with Proctor and this weekend’s John Ilacqua Jr. Memorial Tournament.
The tournament schedule has the Northstars playing Oneida Friday night at the tail end of a doubleheader that starts with West Genesee taking on Marcellus at 4 p.m. The consolation and championship games are Saturday, starting at 11 a.m.