The Colonie Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Stars are heading to the World Series.
The road they took to get there was full of surprises, though.
Colonie didn't win its district or state titles, but advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Regional through a series of fortuitous circumstances. Colonie then won the regional, but not before mounting a two-out, nine-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Miflin County, Pa., 13-11 in the finals.
The good thing is that life is about opportunities, and we were lucky to have the opportunity, said Colonie manager Bob June.
Colonie reached the Mid-Atlantic regional by being the right team at the right time.
"We lost to Albany in the district finals, but the qualification for making states was being one of the top two teams, which we were," said June. "Then we got to the finals in states, and we lost to Saugerties. But since Saugerties was going to host the Mid-Atlantic Regionals, they took the top two teams. Since we were the runner-up team there, we got to go."
It appeared that Colonie was going to wind up being the runner-up team at the Mid-Atlantic Regional, too. Miflin County turned an early 3-0 deficit into an 11-4 lead going into the seventh inning.
June told his players to be patient at the plate, and the message was received loud and clear. With the bases loaded and two outs, three consecutive Colonie batters worked walks to drive in runs and close the gap to 11-7.
Then, the hits started coming. A bloop single drove in a run. Then, an infield single knocked another run in. Finally, Jami June " Bob June's son " belted a grand slam to complete the rally and send Colonie to the World Series in Washington.
"It was absolutely amazing," said coach June. "I've been around baseball for many years and I'd never seen anything like that."
Colonie heads west this weekend for the World Series, where it will compete against eight other regional champions and the host team (Longview) for the title.
"The good thing is we get a bye on the first day, so hopefully the kids will watch some of the games and see how good these teams are," said June.
And if the going gets rough, Colonie can always draw on its journey to the World Series to help it rally again.
"The good thing is now they believe that they can come back from anything," said June.""