Already crowned as state champions, the North Syracuse Babe Ruth baseball 15-year-old team took aim at a spot in its age group's World Series when it went to the Mid-Atlantic Regionals in West Windsor, N.J.
Play began on Wednesday, with North Syracuse meeting Bear, from Delaware, and dominating all the way in a 14-0 shutout.
Four runs in the top of the first inning set the tone. After a quiet stretch, North Syracuse plated three runs in the fifth, then doubled its margin with a seven-run seventh inning, just to be sure.
Dan Brower and Brandon Kapcinski combined on the pitching gem, holding Bear to just one hit. Pat Wright doubled twice, while Dan Zimmerman also doubled. Wright and Ryan O'Kane, with three hits apiece, accounted for half of North Syracuse's 12-hit output.
Thursday brought another North Syracuse victory - and another shutout, too, as this time it put away Northern New Jersey by a 6-0 margin.
O'Kane took the mound and went most of the way, going six innings before Kapcinski recorded the final outs. They gave up seven hits between them, but constantly escaped trouble with clutch pitching, backed up by solid defense.
Meanwhile, North Syracuse took advantage of its chances, getting runs in four of the first five innings. As if O'Kane's great pitching were not enough, he smacked a two-run home run and also doubled as Gabe Levanti and Nick Pilotti also earned doubles.
On Saturday, North Syracuse meets the hosts from West Winfield, looking to inch closer to the Babe Ruth World Series, which starts Aug. 20 in Monticello, Ark.