NISKAYUNA The Bethlehem Babe Ruth 15-year-old division all-stars ran headlong into a baseball team that could do everything well.
Western New York champion North Syracuse made all the clutch plays it needed to defeat Bethlehem 10-0 in a Mid-Atlantic Regional pool play game Sunday, Aug. 3, at Niskayuna’s Blatnick Park.
North Syracuse (4-0) extended its scoreless streak at regionals to 21 innings, and in the process forced Bethlehem (3-1) into needing to play in a quarterfinal game Tuesday, Aug. 5, to reach the semifinals. Bethlehem did its part by beating Bear, Del., and Frederick, Md., Monday, Aug. 4, to place second in its pool.
“Playing four games in two days is going to be tough, but the kids understand that’s what they have to do,” said Bethlehem manager Scott Kniffin. “We’re fortunate that we carry seven or eight pitchers on our roster, but it’s still going to test our depth.”
North Syracuse plated three runs in the top of the third inning, and its pitching and defense thwarted several Bethlehem rallies to earn its third shutout in as many games.
“We ran into a really, really good team,” said Kniffin. “Right now, I’d say they’re the favorite to advance (to the Babe Ruth World Series), but you still have to play every game.”
Bethlehem got off to a strong start in the Mid-Atlantic Regional with a 5-4 victory over Metro New York representative Great Kills Saturday, Aug. 2. Two Bethlehem pitchers had a combined no-hitter going into the bottom of the seventh inning, when Great Kills scored twice to close the gap to a single run.
“We pitched extremely well in that game,” said Kniffin.
Great Kills took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and third innings. In each case, Great Kills got a runner on base without the benefit of a hit and sacrificed him around to bring him in. Bethlehem rallied for four runs in the fourth inning to pull ahead, and it added an insurance run in the seventh.