Bottom of the order carries Storm
SARANAC LAKE – The top of Saranac Lake’s batting order had a tough time at the plate during Tuesday’s game against Moriah.
Fortunately for the Red Storm, the players in the bottom of the lineup were able to get the job done.
The fifth, sixth and seventh batters accounted for all seven of Saranac Lake’s hits to lift the Red Storm to a 4-3 victory over the Vikings. Batting in the fifth spot, Blake Darrah went 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI, and Derek Thurber and Nick McCabe collected two singles each in a game that saw Saranac Lake score the winning run in the bottom of the sixth. Darrah rapped out the only extra-base hit in the game, a double.
Senior catcher Trent Fitzgerald batted in the game-winner on a sacrifice fly to center field that advanced his younger brother, Tristin, home from third base.
“The fact that the top of the order was struggling and we were still able to muster seven hits was encouraging,” Saranac Lake head coach Bryan Munn said. “It was nice to see the bottom of the order have that kind of production. I’m confident our top guys are going to start having success at the plate, and if we can put it together through out the lineup, we could put ourselves in a good position heading into the playoffs.”
Saranac Lake improved to 2-2 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference with the win. The Vikings fell to 2-3 in the league and 2-5 overall.
Each team scored once in the first inning. The Vikings recorded two hits off Saranac Lake starting pitcher Tristin Fitzgerald in their first at-bat and took a 1-0 lead on Austin Allen’s RBI single that knocked in Christopher Clarke, who also singled.
After reaching base on a walk, Dylan Gunther tied the game in the bottom of the frame when he was batted in on a single by Darrah.
Saranac Lake took a 2-1 edge in the third, with Trent Fitzgerald scoring on Darrah’s second RBI single of the game. Darrah then sparked a two-out run scoring rally for the Red Storm in the fifth when he doubled with the bases empty. Thurber and McCabe then followed with consecutive singles, with McCabe’s hit sending Darrah home to give Saranac Lake a 3-1 lead.
Moriah answered with a pair of runs in the sixth to tie the score at 3-3 with Billy Larrow and Cody Stockwell crossing the plate for Moriah.
Saranac Lake then took advantage of two Vikings errors to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth. Tristin Fitzgerald and Logan Wood both reached base safely when their hard ground balls were bobbled in the infield. Gunther then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third, and Trent Fitzgerald followed with his RBI sacrifice to the outfield.
After replacing Tristin Fitzgerald on the mound in the sixth inning, McCabe clinched the victory in the top of the seventh when he forced three straight Moriah batters to ground out to Wood, who had another solid performance at second base for the Red Storm.
“This was a well-played game,” Moriah head coach Casey Nephew said. “Saranac Lake did a great job defensively. They just made a few more plays than we did.”
Sophomore Jarrod MacDougal went the distance on the mound for the Vikings and took the loss. After replacing Tristin Fitzgerald, McCabe picked up the pitching win for the Red Storm. The junior has yet to give up a run in three relief appearances.
Fitzgerald threw 5 2/3 innings for the Red Storm and struck out six batters while scattering six singles. Clarke led Moriah at the plate with two hits.
Saranac Lake is back in action again today, traveling to face Lake Placid in their annual bragging rights matchup. That game is slated to start at 4:30 p.m. When the teams squared off a year ago, the Red Storm rallied from a 5-2 deficit by scoring six runs in their last trip to the plate to claim and 8-5 win.
“In any sport, whenever Saranac Lake and Lake Placid play, you don’t know what is going to happen,” Munn said. “I’m sure Lake Placid’s kids remember what happened last year. I know this game is going to be a good one.”
Saranac Lake 4, Moriah 3
MacDougal and Raymond. Tri. Fitzgerald, McCabe (6) and Tre. Fitzgeral. LP – MacDougal. WP – McCabe. 2B – Darrah (SL).