After an opening game win in the 2012 Senior Babe Ruth Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, Onondaga East head coach Mike Meola knew his team faced a much taller task in its second matchup.
Onondaga West, representing Western New York in the tournament, awaited Meola’s local Host squad, and both teams’ managers believed a hot start would be a decisive factor in the game.
As they predicted, when Onondaga West took a three-run lead in the first inning and doubled that margin to six runs in the second, the deficit was too much for Onondaga East to overcome.
“That was the key - getting off to a good start,” Meola said. “We didn’t make a play, and they capitalized because they’re a good team. I just thought we were playing uphill from there. We needed to get off to a good start and the complete opposite happened.”
Onondaga West controlled the game the rest of the way to knock off Onondaga East 9-1 Thursday at Hopkins Road Park. Pitcher Andrew Sanders, from Ithaca College, dealt four one-hit innings against the overmatched East All-Stars, and Cicero-North Syracuse High School’s Eric Hamilton tallied four RBI to power the Onondaga West offense.
For the West All-Stars, it was an ideal beginning to the tournament.
“We got some pitchers that got some work, we got a lot of people in, and I think for the most part we played crisp,” head coach Ted Klamm said. “We played good defense. We had good at-bats. … This is really an ideal start for us.”
Onondaga East earned the right to play Onondaga West after easily disposing of the Eastern New York representatives Washington County 12-3 in their opening game. In that contest, Onondaga East notched 13 hits and six different players tallied an RBI.
But the East All-Stars, comprised entirely of local high school players, struggled to hang with the Onondaga West squad that has 11 local college players on the roster.