While the North Syracuse Babe Ruth Baseball 15-year-old team finally tasted defeat in the Mid-Atlantic Regionals in West Windsor, N.J. over the weekend, it still was in a strong position at the end of tournament pool play.
Having shut out its first two opponents, North Syracuse did not have the same pitching dominance in Saturday night's game against the host team from West Windsor - but compensated with an offensive explosion in a 17-9 victory.
The first inning alone was wild enough. North Syracuse pounded out seven runs, then watched West Windsor answer with five runs in the bottom of the first to climb back into the game.
Over the next four innings, both sides scored four times, so North Syracuse led 11-9 going to the top of the sixth, when it started to draw clear with four runs before scoring twice in the seventh.
All told, North Syracuse had 17 hits, four of them from Ryan O'Kane as he doubled twice. Nick Pilotti earned three hits. Four different pitchers saw time on the mound, with Pilotti earning the win.
The win streak halted Sunday night when College Park, from New York, took over in the game's middle stages and defeated North Syracuse 6-2.
Pat Wright had his team's lone double as North Syracuse had just six hits to College Park's nine and managed just single runs in the second and fourth innings.
A pair of two-run rallies in the third and fourth frames helped College Park pull clear as Wright, who also pitched, took the loss and Alex Caruso saw relief duty.
Even with that loss, North Syracuse finished first in the "A" pool with its 3-1 mark and will return to the field Monday afternoon, still looking to advance to the Babe Ruth World Series in Arkansas later this month.