SARANAC LAKE - Facing the same situation on a different day, Saranac Lake's baseball players got the result they wanted when rival Lake Placid came to town on Tuesday.
The last time the Red Storm played a baseball game, they fell behind late and couldn't get the bats going to rally in a 9-1 loss to Beekmantown. But against the Blue Bombers, Saranac Lake got timely hitting during a big sixth inning to claim an 8-5 victory in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference action.
Beekmantown broke open a tight game by scoring four times in the top of the sixth on Friday, and Saranac Lake was unable to respond. On Tuesday, the Blue Bombers did just about the same thing, turning a deadlocked contest into a 5-2 lead with three runs in their sixth trip to the plate. But in the bottom of the frame, the Red Storm piled on six runs and then sent the Blue Bombers down in order in the seventh to seal the win.
Saranac Lake senior Grant Strack (0) greets Brad Shumway after the junior slid home to score the eighth Red Storm run in Tuesday’s game against Lake Placid.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
In the bottom of sixth inning, Saranac Lake turned three hits, two walks and a hit batter into six runs to improve to 3-4 in the CVAC. Playing in the inter-divisional matchup, the Blue Bombers suffered their third loss to a Class B opponent and dropped to 3-3 on the season.
Junior Brad Shumway paced the Red Storm's nine-hit attack with a 3-for-4 effort at the play and one run scored. Logan Wood and Dylan Gunther also smacked a double each for the winners, and senior captain Nick Bayruns, who has been in a slump at the plate all season, came up with a clutch single in the sixth that sent two runs home for the Red Storm.
"There was a 12-inning stretch where we essentially did nothing at the plate," Saranac Lake head coach Bryan Munn said. "We ended that in the sixth inning today. It was a huge inning. We took advantage of the opportunity and got the hits we were looking for since we started the Beekmantown game. It's a little concerning having a long stretch like that where you're not hitting the ball."
Trent Fitzgerald got the win on the mound. He entered the game in the sixth in relief of starter Grant Strack, who appeared to be in control of the game until the Blue Bombers erupted for five hits and three runs in the sixth.
Saranac Lake took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Fitzgerald stole home, but Lake Placid answered with the next two runs. Shane McNierney scored in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Meyer, and Alex Brandes, who finished with three singles, was knocked home on another sacrifice shot to left field in the fourth for a 2-1 Blue Bombers edge.
Jon McCabe scored a run for Saranac Lake in the fifth to knot the contest at 2-2, and the Blue Bombers then turned on the heat offensively in their next at-bat. Paced by Connor Preston's triple, and singles from Brandes, Chris Williams and Kamm Cassidy, Lake Placid jumped out to a 5-2 lead while chasing Strack from the mound.
But the Blue Bombers hopes of avenging last season's loss to Saranac Lake ended one inning later in an onslaught that saw 10 Red Storm batters head to the plate and Lake Placid make two pitching changes. Ryan Damp started on the mound for Lake Placid, and then left in the sixth in favor of freshman Chris Williams. After the Red Storm closed their deficit to 5-4, Meyer replaced Williams and eventually got the Blue Bombers out of the tough inning. The senior was tagged for the loss.
"It's always disappointing losing a game like this, but we had a lot positives today," Lake Placid head coach Brian Brandes said. "We had kids come up with some big hits, and our defense was pretty solid.
"We put our ace in there to close out the game against a Class B school, and they are used to seeing lots of good pitchers," Brandes continued. "Damp was all over, and he kept them at bay a bit, but Meyer he throws hard and puts it right over the plate. Saranac Lake has some good hitters, and they just got hot."
Cassidy also had three singles for the Blue Bombers.
Strack finished with eight strikeouts for Saranac Lake, including six during the first two innings. Neither Red Storm pitcher walked a batter. Six batters reached base for the Red Storm on walks.
"Even in the games we lost, we were in a position to win," Munn said. "If our bats come alive, our chances are great. If not, we've been in trouble. Today, we got hot. Hopefully we can keep that going."
Lake Placid returns to Division II action when they play next at Moriah Thursday. The Blue Bombers will also be at home Friday against Northeastern Clinton. Saranac Lake will be looking to even its record Thursday in a key Division I road game against Plattsburgh.
Saranac Lake 8, Lake Placid 5
Strack, Fitzgerald (6) and Gunther. Damp, Williams (6), Meyer (6) and Kane. WP - Fitzgerald. LP - Meyer. 2B - Gunther (SL), Wood (SL). 3B - Preston (LP).