Out of the frying pan, and into the fire.
Three weeks after the South Colonie 15-year-old All-Stars beat Bethlehem twice in one day to win the eastern New York title, they get to play arguably the top two teams at the Babe Ruth World Series Jefferson Parish, La., and Youngstown, Ohio to open this year's tournament in Clifton Park that begins Friday.
"It takes away a lot of options," said South Colonie coach Jeal Sutherland. "The way pool play is, we have to win two out of our four games that we play to advance, and I'm opening up against the two toughest teams in the country. It takes away any option of thinking about who to pitch, when and how long. We have to go at these games to win them both. It's the only thing this team knows how to do anyway."
South Colonie hasn't played a lot of games since winning the state title because it earned an automatic berth as the representative of the host region. The All-Stars have had exhibitions against older select teams including the West Albany Wildcats and the Colonie Yankees, but Sutherland said he knows there's a difference with the teams they will be facing at the World Series.
"They're going to be facing teams that throw the baseball, hit the baseball, catch the baseball 10 months a year," he said. "We play four months a year for the most part, and it'll show. You'll be able to see the kids with the stronger arms, the stronger legs, the pitchers that might be able to go a few pitches longer into a game because of their arm strength and their conditioning. But, they're still 15 years old. The game is seven innings, they're 15 years old " anybody can win."
South Colonie reached the World Series with strong pitching and timely hitting. Pitchers Chris Smith and Paul Nylin shut down Bethlehem during the two-game championship series at states, while Ron Notar hit a pair of clutch home runs to spark the offense.