First there was all the travel required for the Onondaga All-Stars to reach the 16-18 Babe Ruth World Series. Then there was rain delays throughout the weekend on the Alabama Gulf Coast that brought a halt to the round-robin portion of this 10-team national baseball tournament.
None of this has stopped Onondaga, though, as it clinched first place in the American division Monday morning and improved to 3-0 on the tournament with a 6-3 victory over Charleston (Mo.), the champions of the Midwest Plains region.
Though Onondaga surrendered its first runs of the tournament, it still came up with the big hits and clutch pitching necessary to earn a direct bye into Wednesday's semifinals. The championship game will take place Thursday night.
Originally, Onondaga was going to play Dexter on Sunday morning, but by that point the entire tournament was backed up. Rains that started on Saturday caused a rash of postponements that backed up the entire schedule.
By that point, Onondaga had already played twice, shutting out San Benito (Cal.) and Mobile (Ala.) by equal 5-0 margins. Saturday was a scheduled off day, but the rainouts meant that Onondaga would have to play twice on Monday to finish its round-robin tour of the American division.
Both Onondaga and Charleston came into the game with 2-0 tournament marks, so the winner here would get the top seed from the division, regardless of what happened later in the day.
Knowing this, and wanting to make sure that his top arms were ready for the later rounds, Onondaga manager Ted Klamm would use four different pitchers, starting with one of his Bishop Ludden stars, Cory Poplawski.
After a three-inning stint, Poplawski left, replaced by Henninger's Damon Ozelek. But when Ozelek struggled, he got pulled in favor of Westhill's Ben Walsh, who got through the fourth and fifth frames before Wes Randall (West Genesee) went the final two innings and earned the save.