SARANAC LAKE - The Saranac Lake baseball team didn't have one of its sharpest performances on Monday, but still played well enough to claim a 10-4 victory over AuSable Valley.
The Red Storm shook off early struggles at the plate and four errors in the field to improve to 5-4 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference with one regular season game remaining, which will be on the road today at Northern Adirondack.
After going hitless in the first two innings, the Red Storm erupted for 11 hits in a game that saw them score all 10 of their runs with two outs. They broke open a tight game late by scoring eight times during their final two at-bats, including six in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the win, Saranac Lake also locked up a home game for the opening round of the Section VII Class B playoffs, which will take place Friday.
Saranac Lake first baseman Blake Darrah is unable to come up with a throw that took a hard hop off the dirt during Monday’s game against AuSable Valley in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Red Storm senior Dylan Gunther bounces a pitch off the ground during Monday’s game. Gunther scored three times in Saranac Lake’s 10-4 victory.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Senior Trent Fitzgerald paced Saranac Lake at the plate with three hits, including a pair of doubles and five RBI. Brad Shumway also went 3-for-4 with three singles, and Tristin Fitzgerald hit two singles, walked and scored three runs.
Saranac Lake erased a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the bottom of the third and never looked back.
"We did some damage with two outs, and thank goodness for that," Red Storm head coach Bryan Munn said. "We found a way to win. We strung some hits together in the sixth inning with four hits and two walks, and that's where we kind of blew the game open. We needed that good, positive ending to what was otherwise a lackluster performance."
Nick McCabe had another solid outing on the mound as he improved to 4-1. He went the distance while giving up seven hits, which were all singles. The junior has become one of the top pitchers in the league this season. He's appeared in seven of Saranac Lake's nine games, and in 26 1/3 innings of work, he has yet to walk a batter and has an ERA of 1.59. Only one of the four runs scored by the Patriots Monday was earned.
Senior Dillon Savage was the only AuSable Valley player with multiple hits against Saranac Lake. He finished with two singles. Shane Douglas was the starting pitcher for the Patriots and was replaced in the sixth inning by Roger Preston. With the loss, AuSable Valley finished the regular-season with a 2-8 record. They could very well wind up as Saranac Lake's opponent Friday when the playoffs begin.
"Saranac Lake found the holes with their bats and we didn't," Patriots coach Randy Douglass said. "All 10 of their runs came with two outs. We just couldn't make that play when we really needed to."
Today's Saranac Lake game at NAC starts at 4:30 p.m.
Saranac Lake 10, AuSable Valley 4
McCabe and Tri. Fitzgerald. Douglass, Preston (6) and McDonald. WP - McCabe. LP - Douglas. 2B - Trent Fitzgerald (SL), 2.