More action awaits the North Syracuse Babe Ruth Baseball 15-year-old team thanks to its dramatic victory in last week's Mid-Atlantic Regionals.
With a 5-4, nine-inning win over Frederick (Md.) in Tuesday night's championship game in West Winfield, N.J., North Syracuse advanced to the Babe Ruth World Series, which starts this Saturday in Monticello, Ark.
This has become a familiar pattern. As a 13-year old team in 2008, this same group made the World Series in Jamestown, south of Buffalo, then secured a fifth-place finish in the 14-year-old edition of the World Series last summer in Wisconsin.
Now comes a third opportunity at the big prize, secured by a regional run that included two early shutouts and an overall 5-1 mark, counting pool play and elimination games.
None of those games proved more dramatic than the final itself. Frederick appeared to gain control by grabbing a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, where it stayed for a while as North Syracuse struggled early at the plate.
However, in the bottom of the fourth, North Syracuse broke through with a pair of runs, then tied it in the sixth as Nick Pilotti hit a home run to lead the rally.
It remained 3-3 through the end of regulation, and neither side could score in the eighth inning, only adding to the tension. In the top of the ninth, Frederick got a run against North Syracuse pitcher Alex Caruso, who had relieved starter Ryan O'Kane, and took a 4-3 lead.
But in the bottom of the ninth Pilotti and Gabe Levanti, stalwarts throughout the tournament, reached base -- and Pat Wright brought both of them home with the championship-winning hit.
"It was the most exciting game that I have been a part of in all my years of coaching," head coach Dom Caruso said. "For the kids to fall behind twice and not give up and for it to end the way it did was truly amazing. I am really proud of them."