Cicero-North Syracuse softball players celebrate the final out of Monday’s 6-5 victory over Liverpool that won the Section III Class AA championship. It’s the second straight year the Northstars beat the Warriors in the sectional final.
Another Section III Class AA softball championship game between Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool produced another tense thriller on Memorial Day at steamy Carrier Park.
But when all was settled, the Northstars had held on to the title it took from the Warriors, prevailing 6-5 as a pair of C-NS pitchers made key late impacts in their own unique ways.
Ariana Corasaniti, who pitched the first six innings, drove home the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh by drawing a bases-loaded walk. And Lindsey Richards preserved that slim one-run advantage by retiring the heart of the Liverpool order for the last three outs.
“We knew we had to battle all the way to the end,” said C-NS head coach Mary Beebe, noting that many different times this season the Warriors had won games in their last at-bat or in extra innings, including a 4-3, 10-inning decision over the Northstars early in May.
Given the nature of their rivalry, no one was surprised that this championship game offered a roller coaster for fans on both sides.
Jenna Wike, pitching again for Liverpool, offered her first impact at the plate in the bottom of the first, singling to set up the game’s first run driven in by Ashley Teixeira’s single.
It stayed 1-0 until the top of the fourth, when C-NS’s bats began to take charge. With one on and two out, Ally Cifaratta’s double drove home Julianna Vassallo to tie the game.
At first, the Warriors handled this well, for Wike and Teixeira singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth and Gina Meyers doubled both of them home. But Corasaniti prevented further damage, and that would prove important.
Jordyn Maldonado’s bases-loaded single in the top of the fifth tied it again, 3-3, and Brooke Nicolaos did more damage in the top of the sixth. With one on and one out, Nicolaos crushed a Wike fastball over the fence, and C-NS led for the first time.
Now it was the Warriors’ turn to come back, putting two on base in the bottom of the sixth and bringing them both around to score as Sophia Harris singled and Makayla Sweeing reached on an infield hit.
Vassallo, with one out in the top of the seventh, singled. Cifaratta and Nicolaos reached, too, loading the bases for Corasaniti. Though she said she wanted to drive a Wike pitch somewhere, she maintained her patience and took four balls to bring Vassallo home.
Richards, whose long, successful relief stint keyed last year’s sectional final win, entered to pitch. She said it was quite a familiar feeling, and if so, it felt comfortable because she struck out Alberici and then retired Wike and Teixeira on fly balls to end it.