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Red Storm surge in opener

Maddie Gay rips into a triple for Saranac Lake during Monday’s season-opener against Moriah. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — Last year, it took a dozen tries before the Saranac Lake softball team finally notched its first win of the season.

The Red Storm didn’t wait around this spring.

On Monday in its Champlain Valley Athletic Conference softball season-opener, Saranac Lake claimed a 14-7 victory over visiting Moriah in a matchup of two Class C teams.

The Red Storm trailed 5-1 heading into their third at-bat, and then took the lead for good when they sent five runners across the plate in the bottom of the inning to jump on top 6-5. The Red Storm then surged to a 14-5 lead by adding five more runs in the fifth frame and three more in the sixth before the Vikings rounded out the scoring with a pair of runs in their final at-bat.

The game was the season-opener for both teams, and it was the first time Saranac Lake’s players stepped onto a diamond following preseason practices that were held entirely indoors. Both teams were also coming off spring breaks that saw classes resume on Monday.

Katie Gay delivers a pitch for the Red Storm while Annabelle Bombard-Schmidt follows the play from her shortstop position. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

“I think a lot of the girls were nervous going into the game,” Saranac Lake coach Suzanne Nicholas said. “This was our first game, and it was our first day outside. Things didn’t go our way a couple times early on, but it didn’t hold the girls back from trying again next time. A seven-run margin; we kept at it. We’re happy all the way around.”

Returners and newcomers to the varsity team both played a role in Saranac Lake’s victory. Katie Gay, who emerged as the Red Storm’s top pitcher as a sophomore a season ago, came through with a solid effort in the circle, finishing with a complete-game win on an afternoon when she didn’t walk a single batter.

Katie’s sister Maddie Gay had the hottest bat in the contest, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of singles and a triple. Her extra-bagger came in the third inning and knocked in two runs that put Saranac Lake ahead to stay. Amya Hurteau, a sophomore in her first varsity season, also belted a triple and a single and scored three runs in the win.

Also for Saranac Lake, Katie Gay collected a pair of singles, and Maggie Carpenter and Caylen Skiff chipped in a single each in the team’s nine-hit attack.

Although Annabelle Bombard-Schmidt was held without a hit in the game, she had a productive day on the bases for the Red Storm, finishing with four runs scored.

Noel Williams went the distance pitching for Moriah and fanned five batters. Williams also paced the Vikings’ offense with a triple and a single. Moriah also rapped out nine hits in the game, which were all singles with the exception of the triple by Williams. Emma Hayes and Sarah Anderson finished with two hits each and MacKenzie Peters, Cassidy Rushby and Gwen Eichlen added a hit apiece in the loss.

“This is our first day back and we played like it,” Moriah head coach Billie Jo Simpson said. “We had way too many errors, too many passed balls. We scored five runs in the first two innings and then we didn’t score again until the last, and we can’t do that.”

Saranac Lake was particularly aggressive on the base paths, advancing a total of 25 times on a combination of stolen bases and passed balls.

“The girls were running, that’s for sure,” Nicholas said. “We had to work out some first-game kinks, some first-time outdoor kinks, and I think the girls are really excited for the next game. I’m really happy with our new girls. They really came out and performed.”

Saranac Lake next plays Wednesday at AuSable Valley. Moriah is next scheduled to host Beekmantown, also on Wednesday.

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