SL’s big bats beat Bombers

Saranac Lake teammates greet Meagan O’Brien at the plate after the junior’s three-run homer in the fourth inning of Thursday’s game against Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — When Saranac Lake’s Marissa Gibbs launched the third pitch of way, way out of the ball park in Thursday’s game against Lake Placid, it was definitely a sign of things to come for the Red Storm.

Playing at home on senior day, Saranac Lake piled up 24 hits on the way to a 22-9 victory over the Blue Bombers at Rotary Field.

Gibbs, one of five seniors on the team, also tripled and added two singles to finish with a 4-for-6 day at the plate. Annabelle Bombard Schmidt pounded the ball as well, and so did a number of her Red Storm teammates as nine players on the team recorded hits. Bombard-Schmidt paved the way with a 5-for-5 performance that included a triple, three doubles and a single.

And the list goes on for the winners, who improved to 5-7 in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference play. Catcher Madie Gay went 4-for-5 with two doubles, Caylen Skiff rapped out three hits, Katie Gay, Amya Hurteau and Madie Reardon finished with two hits apiece and Maggie Carpenter and Meagan O’Brien had one hit each. O’Brien’s shot was a big one – a three-run homer over the left field fence during Saranac Lake’s eight-run fourth inning.

Not only did the Red Storm have a tremendous day at the plate, they also were solid defensively, which was a far cry from their performance on the same diamond two days ago in a 20-2 loss to Beekmantown, the top team in the CVAC.

Shannon Bentley of Lake Placid safely reaches second base after beating the throw to Saranac Lake’s Maggie Carpenter during Thursday’s game. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

“I think tonight was really big for our girls,” Saranac Lake coach Suzanne Nicholas said. “That last game we had four hits and eight errors. Today, they left the field feeling like they can hit again, we cut way down on the errors, and we had smart base running.

“The girls said they were having fun,” Nicholas added. “They came back together as a team and they were excited. It was a really good day.”

The homer by Gibbs was the lone run scored by either team in the first inning, and the Blue Bombers then grabbed a 2-1 edge in their second at-bat that was fueled by consecutive singles from Shannon Bentley, Ireland Preston and Makeda Thompson and followed by a pair of two-out walks thrown by Red Storm starting pitcher Maggie Carpenter.

Lake Placid’s lead, however, was short-lived as the Red Storm scored seven runs in the bottom of the second to go up 8-2 and they stayed on top the rest of the way.

Nicholas said the game provided her team with an opportunity to move some players into different positions, which included the varsity debut of eighth-grader Karlie Goetz, who was just cleared to dress on Wednesday after recovering from a broken foot. Still hurting, Goetz took over for Carpenter in the pitchers’ circle in the fourth inning and struck out the first batter she faced. But the youngster then struggled and gave up three singles and walked five batters, which helped the Blue Bombers score six times to tie the game 8-8. Nicholas then called in her ace, Katie Gay, to end the threat.

After getting out of the top of the fourth, Saranac Lake blew the game wide open by scoring 12 times in the bottom of the frame.

Lake Placid tacked on its final run in the sixth inning and Saranac Lake put its last two runs on the board, also in the sixth, to make it a 22-9 final.

Lake Placid coach Greg Hays said his team has struggled hitting, and especially on defense, all season long, although he added that the Blue Bombers are getting better at the plate. They finished with nine hits against the Red Storm. Ireland Preston, Grace Crawford, Shannon Bentley and Megan Quinn led Lake Placid with two hits each.

Crawford pitched the entire game for the Blue Bombers and despite giving up a lot of hits, Hays said the sophomore did a good job, which included just a single walk on a day when her defense committed eight errors.

“Grace was solid, she just didn’t get a lot of help,” Hays said.

Saranac Lake next plays Friday at Ticonderoga in a matchup that could play a role in determining the seedings for the upcoming Class C playoffs. The Sentinels topped the Red Storm 11-9 the first time the teams clashed.

Lake Placid has two home games remaining starting with Friday’s matchup against AuSable Valley. The Blue Bombers conclude the regular season on Monday against Northern Adirondack.