While North Syracuse's 13-year old All-Star team brought lots of talent, desire and heart to last week's Babe Ruth World Series in Jamestown, it did not bring any good fortune on the trip west.
In three games in as many days, North Syracuse, the Western New York regional champions and "host" team in the tournament, went 0-3, the losses coming by a combined four runs, twice in the last at-bat. This eliminated North Syracuse from championship contention.
The tournament began on Saturday, with 10 teams from across the country competing in two pools of five. The top finisher in each pool would have a bye into the semifinals, with the second and third-place finishers also advancing.
North Syracuse began play on Saturday, against Southwest champion Bryant (Ark.), and could not hold on to a big early lead, falling to Bryant 9-8.
Nick Pilotti blasted a solo home run in the top of the second inning to erase an early 1-0 deficit. Following that, North Syracuse brought home three runs in both the third and fourth innings, surging in front 7-1.
Bryant roared back, using a run in the fourth inning and six runs in the bottom of the fifth to take an 8-7 lead. Pilotti put North Syracuse back even with a walk and crafty baserunning that led to throwing errors and the tying run in the top of the seventh.
But in the bottom of that last frame, Bryant prevailed when Marcus Wilson singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an error.
That defeat seemed to have a lingering effect -- for in Sunday's game against Ohio Valley champion Youngstown, a rough first inning led to a 12-10 defeat.
In that opening frame, Youngstown sent 13 batters to the plate and poured in eight runs thanks to three doubles and poor fielding (three errors) on North Syracuse's part.