LAKE PLACID - Both Saranac Lake head coach Chris Stevens and Lake Placid coach John Glinski knew Thursday's golf match between their teams was going to be close.
As it turned out, the two coaches couldn't have been more correct.
In a match that saw three players from each team claim victories, Saranac Lake eked out the win by a single point with a 174-175 tiebreaker triumph. The Red Storm got wins from Dustin Fischer, Carley Sawyer and Teddy Yanchitis while Kiefer Casler, Ryan Kane and Pat Kane were victorious for the Blue Bombers.
Saranac Lake junior Dustin Fischer chips his ball onto the 15th green at Craig Wood during Thursday’s match against rival Lake Placid. Fischer shot the low round of the day, a 39, in a tight contest that saw the Red Storm win by a tiebreaker.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Playing in the No. 2 position, Fischer shot the low round of the day, carding a 39 on Craig Wood's back nine to defeat Lucas Strack by seven shots. Four of the other five matches were decided by three strokes or less. Casler came through with the Blue Bombers' widest margin of victory, a six-stroke win over Ethan Sawyer in the No. 1 position.
"After seeing the scores Lake Placid's kids posted in Peru against Beekmantown, we knew they were going to be tough, especially early in the year," Stevens said. "I give John Glinski and those kids a lot of credit. I think he's done wonders for that program."
The Blue Bombers went into the match with a 2-0 record while the Red Storm were 1-1 after dropping their season opener following two unbeaten campaigns in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference. The two teams are now tied with 2-1 marks and are just behind Northeastern Clinton and Peru, who have not dropped a match yet.
In the early-season showdown, no golfer on Saranac Lake or Lake Placid had an exceptional outing, but they didn't fall apart either. Most of the scores were in the mid-40s, with the highest round carded being a 50.
"It was a great match, that's what it's all about," Glinski said. "Our kids let go of a stroke here or there, but so did Saranac Lake's kids, so it all evened out."
Casler, a sophomore, had the low score for the Blue Bombers, shooting a 40 to top Ethan Sawyer, who had a tough finish by playing the final three holes at eight-over par to finish with a 46.
Eighth-grader Ryan Kane defeated Blake Gregory 48-50 in the No. 3 match, and Pat Kane earned Lake Placid's third win, topping Austin Ecret 43-46 in the fifth pairing. After climbing up from Saranac Lake's sixth position in the Red Storm's last match, freshman Carley Sawyer won at the fourth spot with a 43-46 victory over Miles Lussi. Yanchitis then claimed Saranac Lake's third win in a nailbiter, edging Lake Placid's Bjorn Kroes 47-48 at No. 6.
"Before we get off the bus, I always tell the kids to remember the tiebreaker," Stevens said. "There are a lot of good teams out there this season, and tiebreakers are always a possibility. I tell the kids when you get in trouble, don't just start swatting at something you can't get out of. Strokes are important. They were today.
"If the kids are having a tough day, I remind them don't ever give up and just keep grinding," Stevens added. "It was kind of funny because when we got back on the bus after the match, Austin Ecret said 'I kept grinding coach, I kept grinding coach.'"
"Our kids were a bit disappointed," Glinski said. "In my 14 years coaching the team, I think we've only beaten Saranac Lake once or twice, and today it couldn't have been any closer. It's still early in the season. I'm confident both teams will get better. The best thing about today was the weather. The kids were out playing golf in the warm sunshine, and it doesn't get any better than that."
Lake Placid will be back in action today in a match at Ticonderoga. Saranac Lake will also be on the road today against Plattsburgh at Bluff Point.