Temperatures edged near triple digits in southeast Arkansas Thursday as North Syracuse took the field in the town of Monticello for the first time in the 13-to-15-year-old edition of the Babe Ruth Baseball World Series.
It was real hot - and so was North Syracuse, who dominated in every phase of the game to blank Seabrook (Ark.) 11-0 in five innings, the game cut short from its scheduled seven-inning distance by the 10-run mercy rule.
Showing all the game experience it has gained by playing in Babe Ruth World Series each of the last two years, North Syracuse, the Mid-Atlantic regional champions, quickly took control against Seabrook, a tournament invitee.
A single run in the first inning pushed North Syracuse ahead. Then it scored twice in the second inning and three times in both the third and fourth innings before reaching double digits with a two-run rally in the fifth.
In all, North Syracuse produced 11 hits, including Alex Caruso (Liverpool) smashing a two-run home run. Gabe Levanti (Baldwinsville) contributed a pair of doubles, with Bees teammate Brett Charbonneau earning two hits and Eric Hamilton (Cicero-North Syracuse) driving in two runs with a double. Matt DiPaulo also doubled.
This production was far more than pitchers Ryan O'Kane (Liverpool) and Brandon Kapcinski (CNS) needed. Together, O'Kane and Kapcinski held Seabrook to just one hit, O'Kane going four innings and recording eight strikeouts for the victory.
This is the first of four games for North Syracuse in preliminary play. There are 12 teams in the tournament, divided into two divisions (American and National), with North Syracuse in the American division.
On Saturday, North Syracuse resumes action against Pacific Northwest champion Kelso (Wash.) at 12:30, followed by a Sunday contest against Bryant (Ark.) at 11:30 a.m. and a Monday meeting with Southwest champion White Hall (Ark.) at 11 a.m.
Three teams from each division advance to the elimination round, which starts Aug. 25, with semifinals Aug. 26 and the championship game Aug. 27 at 5:30.