A season ago, the Syracuse Babe Ruth 16-18 All-Stars made a bit of local history by claiming the Babe Ruth World Series in Weimar, Texas.
And now Syracuse wants to win the big prize again – but to do so, a mostly new group of area baseball stars will first have to pass through this week’s Mid-Atlanic Regional Tournament.
Unlike in 2012, when Syracuse got to host the Mid-Atlantic Regional, the team must travel to Pine Forge, Pa., just west of Reading and south of Allentown and Bethlehem, for the regionals.
Nine teams are entered in the tournament. Syracuse, as the Western New York representatives, joins the host team from Pine Forge along with teams from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Metro New York, Eastern New York, Northern New Jersey and Southern New Jersey.
Again, Bishop Ludden baseball coach Ted Klamm serves as manager, assisted by Bishop Grimes coach Mark Kelley and Westhill assistant coach John Dalpan.
They have, on hand, a host of pitching stars, ranging from Westhill ace Ben Walsh to his younger brother, Sam Walsh, along with Ludden’s Corey Poplawski and Henninger’s Damon Ozelek.
Three members of Baldwinsville’s state Class AA championship team is on hand, too, including infielder Josh Savacool and outfielders Josh Demoski and Zach Leo. Each of them started for the Bees as they beat Arlington for the state title in June.]
Two of Kelley’s Bishop Grimes players, Chris Schad and Tom Steinberg, are on board, as are three of Ozelek’s teammates on the Syracuse East team – Avery Brooks, Frank Vigliotti and Anthony Santoro.
Davis Kippen (Solvay), Wes Randall (West Genesee), Justin Teague (Cicero-North Syracuse), Chris Lenish (Jamesville-DeWitt), J.P. Quinn (Fayetteville-Manlius) and Colin Thompson (Corcoran) round out the squad, meaning that 11 different Section III schools are represented.
Tournament play for Syracuse begins this Thursday at 10 a.m., against Maryland. Winning that first game is important, because if Syracuse lost, it would have to win at least four games in the loser’s bracket to make it to the finals, which are on Sunday at 1 p.m. The regional tournament winner goes to Covington County, Alabama, for the 2013 edition of the Babe Ruth World Series.