For a long while, it looked like North Syracuse’s 15-and-under All-Star baseball team would make a successful run through last week’s13-15 Babe Ruth Middle Atlantic Regional Tournament in Niskayuna, near Albany.
But at the most important moment, North Syracuse tripped up, and did so at the expense of the team that went on to win the tournament and advance to that age division’s Babe Ruth World Series later this month.
The North Syracuse team, composed mostly of kids from the Cicero-North Syracuse School District, was one of three Central New York-based teams in Babe Ruth regionals.
But while the 14-year-old North Syracuse side went 1-3 in regional play in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and the Valley 13-year-olds also struggled in Atlantic Shore, New Jersey, the 15-year-old North Syracuse side got off to a quick start in Niskayuna.
The 10 teams in the field were split into two groups. North Syracuse was paired in Pool B with Bethlehem (Eastern NY), Great Kills (Metro NY), Frederick (Maryland) and Bear (Delaware), while Pool A included host Niskayuna, Broomall-Newtown (Pennsylvania), Waretown (Southern New Jersey), Franklin Township (Northern New Jersey) and Rotterdam (Eastern NY runner-up).
Starting out on Aug. 1, North Syracuse blanked Frederick 4-0. That great pitching carried over into the next day’s 9-0 shutout over Bear, and when North Syracuse roared past Bethlehem 10-0 on Aug. 3, it had a 3-0 mark and still had not allowed a run.
Also, the win over Bethlehem clinched a bye straight into the semifinals. One game remained in pool play, and there North Syracuse finally surrendered a run, but still romped past Great Kills 13-3 last Monday to complete a perfect run through pool play.
Six teams advanced to the elimination round, with North Syracuse and Pool A champion Niskayuna earning byes straight into the semifinals. Early on Tuesday, Waretown beat Bethelehem 7-3 to earn a shot at Niskayuna, while Broomall-Newtown handled Great Kills 11-1 and would face North Syracuse later that same day.