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Red Storm crowned as sectional champs, defeating Ti

Ben Clark stands in the box waiting for the pitch in the Section VII Class C championship game Saturday against Ticonderoga. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

SARANAC LAKE — “It’s special. We just had a group of seniors go through the strangest senior year ever,” Saranac Lake baseball head coach and athletic director Eric Bennett said.

The Red Storm baseball team was crowned Class C Section VII champions as it defeated the reigning state champions from 2019, the Ticonderoga Sentinels, 9-1 on Saturday.

The win marked the first time Saranac Lake had won the sectional title since 1998, according to Bennett. The season also marked Bennett’s first year with the baseball team.

“We made it a point to make sure these kids had a robust season,” he said. “We played 17 games this year, and it was awesome to give them that opportunity, and I could not be more excited for them. It’s an awesome accomplishment.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all of spring sports last year, the Red Storm managed to fight through adversity to win a sectional championship.

Cedar Rivers winds up to throw a pitch in the Section VII Class C championship game Saturday against Ticonderoga. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

Saranac Lake’s offense had the bats rolling in the first inning with the top of the order that included Will Woodruff, Carter Sturgeon and David Warner tallying a hit and run each.

The offense continued to dominate Ticonderoga as Kaden Darrah and Brady Roberts each notched a base hit that drove in two runs each. Brady Yando followed up with a game-clinching two run single in the sixth inning.

“We put everything together at the right time, we pitched lights-out, and the bats were rolling,” Bennett said. “Everything just seemed to roll for us.”

Cedar Rivers threw a gem as he pitched a complete game, in the midst of striking out 10 batters and only giving up two hits to the Sentinels.

With the sectional victory, the Red Storm ends its season on a high note due to state championships being canceled because of COVID-19.

Saranac Lake baseball team members hold up a Section VII championship banner Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

“I’m so happy for our kids, coming out of a pandemic where there was really no fall sports to speak of, or at least as far as championships go or sectionals or any of that,” Bennett said. “These kids did not get a spring season at all last year, and so to be able to come out and compete and to have a championship and get it done is incredible, I’m really happy for them.”

The Red Storm will lose three seniors next year — Yando, Woodruff and Warner — who have all played a key role this season.

“We are losing some key pieces,” Bennett said. “I think our JV program and modified program are rolling. We just have to keep developing players, give them the time and space to be the best that they can be, hold them accountable and put some wins up.”

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