Storm falls in softball semifinals
SARANAC LAKE — A promising season came to an end for the Saranac Lake softball team on Tuesday when the Saranac Central Chiefs claimed an 8-0 victory in the semifinal round of the Section VII, Class playoff tournament.
Hosting their first semifinal playoff game in more than 15 years, the Red Storm struggled offensively, while the Chiefs were able to find a groove in the later stages of the contest, scoring five runs in the sixth inning to advance to the Class B sectional title game.
“It’s obviously not the way we wanted the season to end, but Saranac came to play,” Red Storm head coach Gabby Lewis said. “They did a great job tonight. We had some errors. We just kind of got in our heads a little bit and our bats didn’t fly when we needed them.”
Tuesday’s contest got off to a slow start with both team’s pitchers controlling the game. The Chiefs starting pitcher, Hailee Liberty, finished the night with a complete game shutout while striking out 10 batters. For the Red Storm, Karlie Goetz, a senior who played in her final varsity softball game on Tuesday, had another solid outing, finishing with seven strikeouts while giving up four walks and one hit by pitch.
“Karlie (has been) amazing all year and she ended it fighting hard and she’s going to be missed,” Lewis said.
The Chiefs scored their first run in the top of the third inning after Abbey Owen hit a triple with two outs and scored on a past ball. Saranac Central extended its lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning when Abby Liberty hit an RBI single up the middle of the field.
Leading 2-0, after recording two outs, the Chiefs scored five straight runs in the sixth inning on an error and two RBI singles. Saranac Central scored its final run in the seventh inning on an RBI single from Layla Pellerin to shallow center field.
Owen led the Chiefs with four hits — three singles and a triple — and Liberty recorded two hits. The Red Storm’s Goetz, Kylee Meyer and Mia Nichols each had a hit in the loss.
With the win, Saranac Central advanced to the Section VII, Class B title game where they will take on the Peru Nighthawks. Meanwhile, the Red Storm finished the season with a record of 9-5.
“We had an amazing season. Probably the best Saranac Lake has had in years so that’s something to be proud of,” Lewis said. “Some of the seniors we are losing is really going to hurt next year. But we have a lot of returning players and we’re looking to see what they can do next year. This season was amazing, so I don’t think tonight reflects how our season went.”