Tupper Lake baseball wins Section X title
POTSDAM — The Tupper Lake baseball team stayed loose and united all season and it paid off with an 11-6 victory over Heuvelton in the Section 10 Class D championship game Tuesday at Clarkson University.
The Lumberjacks (14-4 overall) won their first boys team championship in any sport since returning to Section 10 prior to the 2005-06 school year.
The team features several players who dyed their hair blond. Each game a new player has done so but coach Dan Brown joked after the game that he’s not going to be in the list.
The Lumberjacks will travel to SUNY Plattsburgh to face Section 7 champion Crown Point on Saturday in a state quarterfinal game. The time has not been announced.
Tupper Lake was 6-7 last year with the same core group of players who won the championship Tuesday.
“The biggest thing with us is we have a group of guys that hang out every day after practice,” Brown said. “They hang out all day in school together. They golf together. They swim together. They are dropping pizzas off at my house when they have leftovers at night. It’s just a group of 15 dudes that want to be together all the time, and they are a team. When I think of a team, I think of these guys.”
The current Lumberjacks were in their first championship game in any sport and faced a Heuvelton program that has been a regular in these type of games over the years.
The Bulldogs (9-4) put the Lumberjacks in a 3-0 hole heading into the bottom of the third inning.
Heuvelton’s Tristan Young led off the top of the third with a double. He scored on a single from Nate Mashaw. Mashaw scored on a triple from Adam Calton and then Calton scored on a single from Lucas Thornhill.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, Tupper Lake’s ninth batter, Garrett Dewyea, singled. Karter Kenniston followed with another single and a walk to Ryder Willett loaded the bases.
Dewyea scored on a wild pitch and Grant Godin struck out, but the last pitch got away from Heuvelton’s catcher, enabling Kenniston to score with Godin winding up on second base.
Griffin Shaheen followed with a triple to score Willett and Godin and then scored on a single by Luke Robillard to put Tupper Lake ahead 5-3.
“It came down to a few errors,” said Heuvelton coach Dave Steele. “That one big inning was a big uplift for us. We thought we got it turned in our favor. That’s how baseball happens. Nerves in one inning and it turns around and builds a little momentum. I thought we had chances.”
The Lumberjacks added three more runs in the fourth inning with Godin driving in a run with a double and Shaheen driving in another run with a single.
Shaheen, Tupper Lake’s catcher, tripled again in the bottom of the sixth and finished 4-for-4, driving in five runs. He also threw out a Heuvelton runner trying to steal second.
“It means a lot not just to the school but also the community,” Shaheen said of the win. “We worked hard every day. It just showed.”
Godin finished 2-for-4 for the Lumberjacks.
“We’ve been starting slow in a couple of our games, but I’m very happy to see the bats came out,” Godin said. “The bats came alive and that’s what’s been helping us win games all year. We put up a lot of runs.”
Kenniston threw a complete game, striking out seven, and went 2-for-4.
“My curveball was right on point,” Kenniston said. “I got them thinking a little bit to counter the fastball. I had a lot of confidence in my team.”
Robillard and Dewyea each went 2-for-4.
Calton tripled and singled Thornhill finished with two singles for Heuvelton. Thronhill and Brandon Pray stroked RBI singles in the seventh inning and Jed Crayford singled in the fifth inning.