The Lanes claims third straight title

SARANAC LAKE — Sometimes, losing can be a good thing. As long as it’s not in the deciding game of a playoff series.

After suffering their first setback of the season on Thursday in the Saranac Lake women’s softball league finals, players on The Lanes bounced back big time Friday, pounding their way to a 26-11 victory over Bitters and Bones to take the championship with a 2-1 series win.

The Lanes owned an 11-0 overall record before being upended 14-9 by Bitters and Bones in the second matchup of the finals, and that loss may have provided the league’s top-seeded team with enough inspiration to get the bats going in the deciding game.

“We were undefeated and it didn’t sit well,” said The Lanes captain Terry Buckley. “That’s why we came out strong tonight. We hit a lot better today. We actually got here a little bit early and hit some balls.”

Just like the first two games of the finals series, Friday’s rubber-match was close early on. Upstart Bitters and Bones got the jump by roaring out to a 9-3 lead after an inning and a half of play. The Lanes however took control by scoring seven runs in the bottom of the second, and from there, they never looked back on the way to securing their third straight title in the six-team league.

The Lanes scored in every inning, including seven times each in the second, third and fourth frames. They tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game early on the 15-run rule. The scenario was similar in the opening contest of the finals, with Bitters and Bones taking a 13-12 edge before The Lanes got hot and pulled away to win 29-13.

“We stick together, we don’t get down on each other, and just support each other,” Buckley said. “We range in age from 17 to 53. It’s a nice mix, and we sure have a lot of fun.”

Despite the setback, Bitters and Bones had a solid ending to its season. The team only won three games during the regular season but fought its way into the final with a first-round playoff win and then took the second game off the eventual champions. Bitters and Bones ended its run with a 4-7 overall record.