July 25, 2003 11:00 pm

BELGRADE, Mont. — A five-hour rain delay did not distract the Union County 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars in the Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament Friday.

"We came out of the box pretty hot and heavy," manager Darwin Roberts said about Union County's 14-1 opening-game win over Belgrade.

Union County was up 7-0 after two innings and cruised the rest of the way.

Roberts said Union County played exceptionally good defense, turning in two good double plays.

He said even though Union County endured two long rain delays, the boys were focused and ready.

Union County was supposed to play at noon (MST), then 2:30 p.m. before finally getting the game in at 5 p.m.

Josh Homan had two doubles, Cody McKague had a double and single, and Richie Carmichael had a two singles.

Anthony Nice, playing in front of 17 members of his family who made the trip from Oregon, had two singles, two stolen bases and a double. He was named most valuable player for the game.

Anthony's little brother, Zack, is the new batboy for the team, and his grandfather, Larry, is also on-hand. Larry Nice was the manager of the only other La Grande Babe Ruth team to win a state championship — a 13- 15-year-old team that won the state title 15 years ago. Larry Nice's team won regionals, as well.

McKague pitched three innings before Travis Ludwig came on in the fourth. Union County tacked on six runs in the third and one more run in the fourth.

Union County takes on North Washington (the Yakima Reds) today. If the weather clears up, that game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. MST.

— From staff reports

Belgrade 000 10x x — 1 2 3

Union Co. 436 1 xx x — 14 13 2

McKague, Ludwig and Ludwig, McKague; Freund and Larson. WP — McKague. LP — Freund.

Union County hits — Nice 3, Carmichael 2, Homan 2, McKague 2, McIntosh, Johnston, Clark, Ludwig. 2B — Homan 2, Nice, McKague. RBIs — Nice 2, McKague 2, McIntosh 2, Carmichael, Ludwig, Clark