Wisdom has definitely come with experience for the Atlantic Shore 14-year-old baseball team.
The Devils learned some important lessons the hard way in the past few years. It kept them focused in an 11-0 win over North Syracuse (N.Y.) in a Babe Ruth Middle Atlantic Regional Invitational game Saturday at Surf Stadium in Atlantic City.
Atlantic Shore, comprised mostly of players who reached last year's 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series, lost what should have been an easy game in the 2011 regional tournament.
The Devils didn't want to let that happen again.
"Last year we got caught overlooking a team, and we lost a game we shouldn't have. It almost cost us," said Mike Gill, one of Atlantic Shore's coaches. "They were really determined to make sure that we came out very business-like."
Atlantic Shore has been solid offensively through two games of pool play, totaling 23 runs. Cody Sadreameli and Nick Droboniku each went 2-for-3 against Syracuse, the Western New York representative. Dean Deveney had two RBIs and scored a run.
Atlantic Shore lacked some power in the state tournament. The Devils started the regional tournament with a new energy and attitude.
"We go at every team like they're the best team," Sadreameli said. "We just play the same game, same mentality, every single game."
A six-run third inning helped the Devils pull away. Meanwhile, pitchers Kyle Gerace and Steven Myers tossed a combined one-hitter through five innings.
Gerace struck out three in four innings before Myers came in to pitch the fifth. The game was shortened due to a 10-run mercy rule.
It was the second shutout for Atlantic Shore, something that could be extremely important should the regional tournament enter a tiebreaker situation.
The first tiebreaker criteria is head-to-head game results. The second is each team's runs-against average. In last year's World Series, it was the second criteria that sent Atlantic Shore home early.
"We just jumped on (Syracuse) early. ... Runs against is something we're very conscious of," Gill said.
Atlantic Shore plays South Shore, a Staten Island team that represents Metro N.Y., at 4 p.m. today in Somers Point. Each team is 2-0 in Pool A.
Pool play concludes Monday. The quarterfinals and semifinals are Tuesday and the championship is Wednesday.
"We'll just keep going and hopefully we don't stop," Sadreameli said.
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Saturday's other scores: Southern N.J. (Washington Township) 8, SNJ runner-up (Hightstown) 0; Eastern N.Y. (Clifton Park) 4, Delaware (Piedmont) 3; Northern N.J. (Branchburg) 9, Maryland (Cecil County) 8; Southern N.J. (Washington Township) 7, Pennsylvania (Bensalem) 2.
Today's games: 10 a.m. (at Surf Stadium)-Northern N.J. (Branchburg) vs. Pennsylvania (Bensalem); 1 p.m. (Surf Stadium)-Maryland (Cecil County) vs. Southern N.J. (Washington Township); 4 p.m. (Surf Stadium)-Eastern N.Y. (Clifton Park) vs. Western N.Y. (Syracuse); 4 p.m. (at Somers Point)-Metro N.Y. (South Shore) vs. Atlantic Shore