Red Storm blast off in fourth
LAKE PLACID – Everything went Saranac Lake’s way in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s baseball game against Lake Placid. And it was definitely an inning the Blue Bombers would rather forget.
Behind a complete-game pitching performance by Nicholas McCabe and a 10-hit attack, Saranac Lake toppled Lake Placid 10-3 to win for the second time in as many days.
Six of the Red Storm’s runs came in what proved to be a decisive sixth inning that saw 11 of their batters step up to the plate. In the frame, the Red Storm pounded out four hits, including two doubles, and also had three more batters hit by pitches to reach base. A couple of questionable calls at second and third base also played in Saranac Lake’s favor.
The Blue Bombers held a 2-1 lead at the time and were never able to recover after falling into a 7-2 hole on their home diamond.
Saranac Lake tacked on three more runs in the sixth inning while improving to 3-2 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference. Lake Placid dropped to 0-4.
After going hitless in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Moriah, the first four batters in the Red Storm order accounted for four hits, five RBI and five runs scored against the Blue Bombers.
“I figured that when the top of our order comes around we would be in good shape,” Saranac Lake head coach Bryan Munn said. “In the fourth inning that happened. We put up six runs and that’s what I was waiting four.”
The 10 runs scored by Saranac Lake was one more than the total the team put up during its first four games of the season.
Lake Placid, which had five hits but also committed five errors, scored one run in both the first and second innings to take a 2-0 edge. Starting pitcher Shane McNierney led off the bottom of the first with a double and reached home on a RBI single by Connor Preston. Tucker Angelopoulos scored Lake Placid’s run in the second after he reached first on a fielder’s choice, stole second base and crossed the plate following a Red Storm error.
Dylan Gunther recorded Saranac Lake’s first run on Trent Fitzgerald’s sacrifice fly to center in the top of the third to make it a 2-1 game, and the Red Storm then took control in their fourth at-bat. Blake Darrah and Drew Sturgeon both ripped RBI doubles in the frame, Logan Wood and Brad Shumway rapped out a single each to knock in two more runs, and Trent Fitzgerald rocked another sacrifice fly to the outfield to send home a runner.
Shumway, Darrah and McCabe added insurance runs in the top of the sixth, with two coming on a long sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Tristin Fitzgerald.
Angelopoulos scored Lake Placid’s third and final run in his team’s last at-bat. He reached on an error, advanced to second on Noah Mohr’s single, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly to Chris Williams.
A reliever to start the season, McCabe didn’t walk a batter and struck out five while getting his first start. The junior picked up his second pitching win in as many days after shutting down Moriah on Tuesday in a relief role. In 11 1/3 innings of work so far this season, McCabe has yet to walk a batter while compiling an ERA of 1.24. He also leads Saranac Lake at the plate with a .417 batting average.
“Nicholas pitched awesome today,” Munn said. “He has good movement and throws strikes. You want to talk about a difference maker – today Nicholas was the difference maker both pitching and at the plate.”
Shumway, McCabe and Sturgeon each had two hits to lead Saranac Lake. Darrah finished with a double, his second in two games, and Gunther, Tristin Fitzgerald and Logan Wood had a single each in the win.
McNierney’s double was Lake Placid’s only extra base hit. Preston, Mohr, Alex Brandes and Davis Moore chipped in a single each for the Blue Bombers.
Williams took over for McNierney on the mound in the third inning, and Brandes finished the game, pitching the top of the seventh.
“We only had five strikeouts, and that wasn’t bad, and we had five hits, but the fact that we had five more errors in this game didn’t help our cause,” Lake Placid head coach Brian Brandes said. “Our kids are competitive, they want to win and they want to do well. We have a lot of young kids who haven’t seen a lot of varsity time, and hopefully by the end of the season, they will be where we need to be.”
Saranac Lake will look to notch its third straight win when it hosts Beekmantown Saturday starting at 11 a.m. The Blue Bombers next play on the road Friday at AuSable Valley starting at 4:30 p.m.
Saranac Lake 10, Lake Placid 3
McCabe and Tri. Fitzgerald. McNierney, Williams (3), Brandes (7) and Preston. WP – McCabe. LP – McNierney. 2B – Sturgeon (SL), Darrah (SL), McNierney (LP)