Bombers nine return to title contest

Lake Placid’s Vann Morrelli pitches during Saturday’s Section VII, Class D semifinal game against Crown Point in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

LAKE PLACID — After the Lake Placid baseball team gave up an early lead to the Crown Point Panthers Saturday morning, the team lost their pregame smiles and got down to business.

The host Blue Bombers scored nine straight runs in the second inning and never looked back, topping the Panthers 14-4 in the Section VII, Class D semifinal game.

“We were confident in our bats, if we let up one or two runs in the first couple of innings,” Lake Placid baseball coach Brian Brandes said. “We’re confident that at some point we could match (Crown Point’s energy).”

Lake Placid will head back to the Section VII, Class D Championship game for the second year in a row. This time around, the squad has its eyes on defending its crown.

“The job’s not finished,” Blue Bombers’ pitcher Vann Morrelli said, quoting the late Kobe Bryant.

Lake Placid’s Owen Thomsen swings during Saturday’s Section VII, Class D semifinal game against Crown Point in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

Lake Placid will face the Bolton Eagles at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at SUNY Plattsburgh’s Chip Cummings field — a neutral site. The Eagles topped Johnsburg/Minerva 6-5 in the other semifinal game.

The top seeded Blue Bombers recorded nine hits and all nine starters reached base at least once in the winning effort Saturday. Morrelli, Jon Caito and Will Landriault had two hits each. Jarrett Mihill, Hyler Isham and Owen Thomsen each had one hit in the game.

“We’re fortunate to hit one through nine for the most part,” Brandes said. “We are confident in one through nine plus some of our pinch hitters.”

Crown Point’s Evan Carey had three of his team’s seven hits. Reese Pertak, Jarrett Russell, Alek Stone and Joe Tompkins had one hit each.

Carey got the Panthers on the board with an RBI double in the first, and despite the Blue Bombers putting a runner in scoring the position, the team left the inning empty-handed.

“Our goal is to win every inning and we lost the first one, which we don’t usually do,” Morrelli said. “Then we got back in the dugout and capitalized in the next inning.”

After Morrelli shut down three straight batters, the Blue Bomber bats came alive. The team scored a pair of runs to claim the lead in the second, before Morrelli once again tossed a 1-2-3 inning to open the third.

“In the third inning, we just turned it over,” Morrelli said.

After Lake Placid’s Caito was walked on four straight pitches, the team rattled off five straight hits to extend its lead to 9-1. The inning was highlighted by a two-run double from catcher Owen Thomsen, with the bases loaded.

“We’ve been really good a capitalizing on errors and just timely hits and that’s what put us to where we are today,” Morrelli said.

Morrelli allowed five hits, walked nobody and struck out 10 in six innings. Caito entered in relief in the seventh inning and had two punch outs.

Crown Point’s Kaden Hurlburt started on the mound and had three strikeouts, before being relieved by Reese Pertak in the third inning. He struck out six batters.

The Panthers scored one run in the fourth on an RBI single from Tompkins and two runs in the fourth after Pertak hits a double, but could never mount a comeback.

The Blue Bombers scored one run in the fourth and two runs in both the fifth and sixth. This season, Lake Placid is 13-2 overall, with its two losses coming against Class B and C opponents.

The team improved to an unprecedented 31-2 record in league play in its last three seasons. That record includes its current 25 game win streak. The Blue Bombers last lost to a Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference opponent on May 13, 2022.

Brandes, who notched his 98th career coaching victory on Saturday, described his team — which is made up of both Keene and Lake Placid players — as a family and dedicated their success to the team’s hard work.

“That’s what this team is all about,” he said. “We had split practices at the beginning of the year and they didn’t want it. They wanted everybody together and that’s a tribute to them.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today