LAKE PLACID - Thirteen years ago, the Lake Placid baseball team moved up to compete in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference, and during that time, the Blue Bombers have never advanced to a championship game. Before that, it had been another years since they played for a title as a member of the Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference.
That long drought ended Tuesday when Lake Placid knocked off Crown Point 8-5 in a Section VII, Class D semifinal contest on the Blue Bombers' field. With the win, Lake Placid now faces Chazy in Thursday's final at SUNY Plattsburgh. It will be a matchup of the two top seeds in Class D, with the Eagles heading into the game ranked first and the Blue Bombers seeded second.
Crown Point, one of perennial Class D contenders in the MVAC, jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run in its first at-bat, but the Blue Bombers roared back to score all eight of their runs during a three-inning stretch starting in the bottom of the second. Lake Placid crossed the plate three times in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 edge and didn't stop until it owned an 8-1 lead heading into the fifth inning. Crown Point scored three times in the top of the fifth off Lake Placid starter RJ Reid, and that's when Blue Bombers ace Ryan Meyer came on in relief to slam the door. He allowed just one run in the Panthers final at-bat.
"We're on a bit of a roll right now," said Lake Placid head coach Brian Brandes, whose team has now chalked up five straight victories while improving to 9-7 overall. "It's been a long time since we've played for a championship. We're thrilled.
"Crown Point plays great baseball year in and year out down there," Brandes added.?"That's what they do. Their guys can hit throughout the lineup and they go chase down balls in the field. It was a good game, and our guys got it done."
Playing in the lineup for his second game since returning from a knee injury, Reid got the start on the mound. After pitching two innings the day before in the Blue Bombers quarterfinal win over Elizabethtown, the senior allowed Crown Point just one until the fifth.
"RJ pitched well," Brandes said. "We've been saving Ryan Meyer for as long as we could, and when RJ appeared to be getting tired in the fifth, Ryan took over."
Ryan Damp and Alex Brandes led Lake Placid with two hits each. Overall, the Blue Bombers collected eight hits and the Panthers finished with six. Damp finished with two singles and three RBI, while Brandes singled and doubled and had one RBI. Shane McNierney had a double, and Meyer, Eddie Kane, Connor Preston and Noah Mohr had a single each in the win.
Working into the fifth to earn the pitching win, Reid allowed four hits, struck out five and walked three.
Jaice Spring paced Crown Point at the plate with two hists and Rob Macey finished with a pair of RBI for the Panthers. Joe Foote was the Panthers starting pitcher and went into the fourth inning before being releived by Dan Groshans.
The last two times the Blue Bombers won championships were back-to-back in 1994 and 1995. Both years, they went all the way to the state Class D championship game. They won it all during the '94 campaign.