Whether it was a one-sided breeze or a dramatic late comeback, Onondaga’s 16-18 baseball All-Star team found different ways to succeed early in the Babe Ruth World Series, in Weimar, Texas, advancing out of the round-robin portion of the tournament and reaching the elimination rounds later this week.
As one of 10 teams in the tournament, Onondaga was placed in the American division with the host team from Texas Tri-Counties, along with Modesto (Calif.), Matthews Park (Ala.) and Bismarck (N.D.). The National division includes two more sides from Texas, plus Cape Cod (Mass.), Lansing (Ill.) and Port Angeles (Wash.).
Onondaga would play four games in a round-robin format within the American division. The top three finishers advanced to elimination play, with the first-place finishers sent to the semifinals and needing to win just twice more for the championship.
Unlike other sides that got to rest up after making it to Weimar, Onondaga was thrust right into the tournament opener against the hosts from Texas Tri-Counties on Friday night.
That wasn’t a problem, though, as Onondaga blanked TTC 8-0 behind a stellar effort from Le Moyne-bound pitching ace Ryan O’Kane. In six innings, O’Kane, a Bishop Ludden graduzate, allowed just three hits, striking out eight. He also had a double and two RBIs at the plate.
A run in the first inning got Onondaga going, but it tacked on two more runs in the third and broke it open with four runs in the fourth inning, all with two outs.
Leadoff hitter Nick Pilotti (Liverpool) had three hits, stole three bases and scored three runs. Fellow Liverpool alum Alex Caruso, like O’Kane, doubled and earned a pair of RBIs.
Easy as this game was, Saturday’s follow-up against Modesto proved far tougher, and Onondaga needed a stirring rally to pull out a 4-3 decision.