Onondaga, N.Y., used a late scoring run to defeat the defending champion Alabama Rawdogs 6-5 Saturday in the championship game of the Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series at Hank Aaron Stadium.
The host Rawdogs, who won the title in 2019 (COVID-19 canceled the 2020 tournament) and were seeking their 11th World Series championship, started quickly but could not take advantage of scoring opportunities late in the game.
Onondaga finished pool play — the 10-team tournament was divided into two five-team pools, with the top three teams in each pool advancing to the single-elimination championship round — as the No. 3 seed out of the National pool. It defeated No. 2 America pool seed Highland, Ind., then defeated No. 1 National seed Bakersfield, Calif., to earn a spot in the title game against Mobile’s Rawdogs, the top-seeded team in the American pool.
On Saturday, the Rawdogs scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-1 lead over Onondaga, which had scored a run in the top of the inning. Onondaga tied the game in the top of the second with a pair of runs, but the Rawdogs retook the lead in the home half of the inning with another run to lead 4-3.
Neither team scored again until the top of the sixth when Onondaga scored two runs to grab a 5-4 lead. With a runner on third and two outs, Mobile had a chance to tie the game but a line drive was snagged by the Onondaga second baseman in a leaping catch that ended the scoring threat.
Onondaga added an insurance run in the top of the seventh and last inning, which it would need. Mobile produced an infield single and a walk to start the bottom half of the seventh. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third but a pop up behind second gave Mobile its first out.
Mobile then delivered a well-hit ball to right field, but it was caught in a stellar defensive play against the wall for the second out. However, the runner at third tagged up and scored, cutting the Onondaga lead to 6-5. The next batter was intentionally walked, even though he represented the winning run, to allow for a force play at first, second and third. The following batter walked, loading the bases, but a grounder to second was tossed to the shortstop covering second for the force out, which was the third and final out, and Onondaga had its World Series title.
The title game ended play that began on July 31 and featured at least four games a day through pool play, with the championship round covering the final three days. Rain and wet conditions forced some adjustments and postponements early in the schedule, but the tournament finished on time.
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