LYON MOUNTAIN — The Lyon Mountain Miners might have saved their best baseball for last Sunday.
Facing a 9-4 deficit and a one-hour rain delay, the Miners scored six unanswered runs to sweep the Fourth Ward Cardinals 11-2, 10-9 and claim the Champlain Valley Baseball League championship.
“We were maintaining a 4-0 lead, but surrendered five runs immediately after the rain delay,” Lyon Mountain manager Bill Chase said. “It certainly gave them momentum, and Tom Neale retired nine batters in a row before we put anybody on in the sixth inning.”
After cutting the Cardinals’ lead to two, Dave Waldron led off the seventh inning with a walk.
Then, Tory Bouyea belted a double down the left-field line and Jerry Kowalowski walked to load the bases.
Enter Kyle Kowalowski.
The former Saranac and Plattsburgh State standout ripped a base hit past the first baseman, scoring two runs to tie the ballgame at 9-all.
With runners on the corners and no outs showing on the scoreboard, Scott Baker was intentionally walked to load the bases for the second time in the seventh inning.
In the next at-bat, Kris Chase hammered a pitch to the shortstop, who misfired on the throw to home plate.
Jerry Kowalowski’s slide into home gave Lyon Mountain its second CVBL championship in as many seasons and its fourth title in the last six years.
“Facing adversity like that, it was an incredible way to bounce back,” Chase said. “Tom Neale was on. Fortunately for us, though, their pitchers gave up six walks in the last two innings.”
The CVBL did not award a playoff Most Valuable Player, but Chase said Bouyea and pitcher Waldron made significant contributions throughout.
“Tory Bouyea’s performance throughout the playoffs was unreal,” Chase said. “He finished 11-for-18, including four doubles. Defensively, he made some outstanding plays in the field. He would have been my nod for MVP.