It was time for the Oneida and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill baseball teams to step into the Tri-Valley League and see if they could stand out once more.
For the Indians, the big test came Thursday, against defending Section III Class A champion Whitesboro, and it led midway through the contest before the Warriors rallied late and beat them by a score of 8-5.
Trailing 5-0 going into the fourth inning, Oneida suddenly tied it with a five-run rally, most of the runs coming home when, with the bases loaded, Kyle Armstrong and Dylan VanDresar both hit two-run doubles.
However, Whitesboro absorbed the blow and, in the sixth, notched the decisive three-run rally. Mitch Cavanagh, pitching in relief of Armstrong and starter Chris Morehouse, took the loss.
Two days earlier, Oneida got a visit from Utica-Notre Dame and, with one big rally and standout pitching, earned a 4-1 victory over the Jugglers.
Through four innings, Dylan VanDresar was containing UND's bats, but a second-inning tally had pushed the Jugglers ahead 1-0.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Oneida surged ahead with all four of its runs, keyed by Jordan Koons' two-run double off the wall and Tyler Mallinder bringing home another run with a well-timed squeeze bunt.
VanDresar gave way to reliever Mitch DuBois, who saw Mallinder stop one rally in the sixth with a diving catch, then escaped his own trouble in the seventh when, with the bases loaded and two out, he forced a fly ball to end it.
VVS had a similar struggle with Camden in its league home opener - and also would win, too, edging the Blue Devils 4-2.
Through four innings, the Red Devils had just one hit off Blue Devils pitcher Cody Sullivan and trailed 2-1. But in the fifth, two different errors brought home the tying run, and Collin Laguzza's double scored two more and put VVS ahead.