Bombers fall in sub regional playoff game

Lake Placid’s catcher Owen Thomsen catches a pitch during Thursday’s sub regional playoff game against Hartford-Fort Edward. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake Placid baseball team’s hopes of making a deep playoff run in the state tournament came to end on Thursday.

Playing in hot and sunny conditions, the Blue Bombers were defeated 12-1 by the Hartford-Fort Edward Tanaforts, a mix between the two school’s mascots — the Hartford Tanagers and the Fort Edward Flying Forts — in the Class D sub regional round at Plattsburgh’s High School.

The Blue Bombers got off to a hot start scoring one run in the bottom of the first inning, but the Tanaforts quickly responded by scoring six runs in the second before adding six more in the final three innings to close out the game by way of a mercy-rule in five innings of play.

With the win, Hartford-Fort Edward will now face off against the Section X, Class D champions, Parishville-Hopkinton, in the regional final on Saturday. The winner of that game will advance to the state final four in Binghamton next week.

Despite coming up short of its first regional or sub regional playoff since 1995 — the year after the school’s state title run — Blue Bombers head coach Brian Brandes said he was proud of the boys’ efforts all season long.

Lake Placid’s PJ Colby pitches during Thursday’s sub regional playoff game against Hartford-Fort Edward at Plattsburgh High School. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

“This game today can’t take away from a really good season,” Brandes said. “It’s a great group of guys. They gelled together all year. They’ve been having fun.”

Lake Placid finished the season by winning the Section VII, Class D title and Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference regular season title for the second season in a row. The team also finished with a record of 12-4, the most wins by a Lake Placid baseball team in more than 15 years.

Problems occurred early for the Blue Bombers on Thursday, when Hartford-Fort Edward’s Aiden Swezey reached first base on a fielding error. Swezey then was able to reach second base on a failed pick-off attempt.

However, on Swezey’s attempt to steal third, junior catcher Owen Thomsen made a beautiful throw to third baseman Jon Caito, a sophomore, for the tag out giving the Blue Bomber some life.

Lake Placid’s starting pitcher PJ Colby, a senior, then closed out the inning with no-runs, by striking out one batter and making a throw to first baseman Foster Wood for the punch out.

Lake Placid’s Jon Caito tags out Hartford-Fort Edward’s Aiden Swezey at third base during Thursday’s sub regional playoff game at Plattsburgh High School. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

On the offensive side, Lake Placid used the bit of momentum to load the bases by one single and two errors. The Blue Bombers’ Vann Morrelli, a sophomore, then laid down a solid bunt on the left side baseline, scoring the team’s lone run.

Trailing 1-0, the Tanaforts were able to load up the bases in the top of the second for its nine-hole hitter, Aiden Foster.

On just the first pitch of the at-bat, Foster hit the ball to the outfield and the ball took a high bounce over the head of Lake Placid’s center fielder Max Hyman, a sophomore, scoring three runs. After taking the 3-1 lead, Hartford-Fort Edward scored three straight on back-to-back fielding errors and a sacrifice fly.

From that point on the Blue Bombers lost all of its momentum and struggled from both sides of the plate. The Tanaforts scored one run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly from Foster, before scoring three runs in the fourth on RBIs singles from Ray Harrington and Dan Boucher and a sacrifice fly.

Hartford-Fort Edward also scored two more runs in the top of the fifth inning. The team finished the game with eight hits.

“It was just that one inning where we did a few things wrong,” Brandes said. “But they were a good team. I’m not going to take anything away from them.”

The Tanaforts’ starting pitcher, Drake Stewart, tossed five strikeouts, while giving up one hit. Joe Allen came in relief during the bottom of the fourth, striking out one batter, while allowing one hit.

Colby recorded two strikeouts for Lake Placid, before being relieved by Caito at the start of the third inning. Caito finished with one strikeout. Colby and Caito also recorded Lake Placid’s only two hits.

While the Blue Bombers will lose three seniors from its roster next season, the team has plenty of players returning that are either juniors or sophomores to potentially make another playoff run.

“We’ll miss PJ. We’ll miss Foster. We’ll miss Katie (Coursen),” Brandes said. “But I’ve got a bunch of kids coming back and we’re going to enjoy those kids next year.”


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