All those early-season struggles the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team went through have paved the way for a serious contender to emerge again.
Once 2-3, the Northstars entered its big series against West Genesee having won six in a row, and then ran that streak to seven with two big innings that put away the Wildcats 9-3 last Monday at the Gillette Road complex.
Coming off winning two of three from Baldwinsville, WG got a run in the second and extended its lead to 3-0 an inning later on Timmy Winn’s two-run double.
But The C-NS lineup roughed up Wildcats starter Dylan Steinman in the bottom of the third, earning five runs, three of them racing home on D’ante Zapanta’s bases-clearing double.
Try as it could, WG could not answer it against C-NS pitcher Mason White, who after the first two innings blanked the Wildcats, getting eight strikeouts and allowing just seven hits overall.
C-NS then broke it open with four runs off Ryan Paige in the bottom of the sixth as Joe Mallaro matched Zapanta’s three-RBI total and earned three hits overall. Conner Gonzalski also drove in two runs. Tim Schinto added an RBI and Drew Bristow had two hits, scoring twice.
A day later, in Camillus, the second game of the series saw C-NS run right into WG ace Liam Barry and have its win streak end in a 2-0 defeat.
Working at a fast pace, Barry kept C-NS batters from finding any kind of rhythm, limiting them to four hits, two of them in the first inning, and earning nine strikeouts.
For his part, C-NS left-hander Joe DeGroot did quite well, too, containing the Wildcats except for the bottom of the second, when WG got both of its runs on Dan Purcell’s double that scored Timmy Winn and a single by Tyler Gould.
All of this made for high stakes in Thursday’s series finale at Gillette, but again the home team came out on top as the Northstars’ bats got hot at just the right time to prevail 5-2 over the Wildcats.
For four innings, the two pitchers – C-NS’s Justin DelVecchio and WG’s Brian Hartnett – kept it 0-0 before the Wildcats struck for a run in the top of the fifth.
This didn’t faze the Northstars, who got to Hartnett for three runs in the bottom of the fifth and tacked on two more in the sixth, the big blows coming from Jared Lonergan’s two-run home run and Mallaro’s two-run triple. DelVecchio managed to get the complete game, despite giving up 11 hits as he struck out three without allowing a walk.
By winning this series, C-NS gave itself as much confidence as necessary going into its last league series of the regular season against its rivals from Liverpool.