If it's the end of July and the start of August, then the North Syracuse Babe Ruth All-Stars must be going ino the Middle Atlantic Regional Tournament.
For the third year in a row, a group of players from all around the area, from Central Square to Chittenango, are New York State champion and will try to win the regional title in their 13-15 age group under the North Syracuse banner.
But this time North Syracuse will have the extra edge, getting the benefit of home-field advantage at North Syracuse Junior High School on Taft Road and the Gilette Road Middle School in the 10-team tournament.
The winner advances to the 13-15 Babe Ruth World Series, to be held in Van Buren, Ark., from Aug. 15 to 22.
Play begins this Thursday, at both facilities in two pools of five teams each, and will continue until all teams have competed four games of round-robin before semifinals and the title game on Aug. 5.
Coached by Mike Pirro, Paul Gangemi and Dan Parson, North Syracuse features 14 players, nine of which have been around for all three of North Syracuse's state championship runs.
In 2006, the reign began with a state title before it went to Bayonne, N.J., for the Mid-Atlantic regional and lost close contests to Council Rock (Pa.) and Maryland and did not reach the finals.
A year later, North Syracuse won the state tournament in Ithaca, then returned to New Jersey, this time for a Mid-Atlantic regional in Goldsboro. After finishing second in pool play and winning in the semifinals over Manalapan, North Syracuse fell in the title game in an 8-3 decision to Nottingham (N.J.) and again saw someone else reach the national finals.
Dan Parsons (Liverpool) remembers that final against Nottingham. He said a couple of early hits by North Syracuse with runners on base might have turned things in their favor, and that getting those kind of hits now might produce a title.