CANTON — The No. 8 Lake Placid baseball team had a woeful start to its season, dropping six consecutive ballgames.
But the final two outs of its NYSPHSAA Class D regional final loss to No. 2 Heuvelton Saturday will be a tougher pill to swallow.
Down 4-3 in the top of the seventh inning with runners on second and third base and one out, Ryan Damp hit a pop fly to right field.
Joseph McDonnell, a senior right fielder for the Bulldogs, had the baseball hit the palm of his glove and pop out before securing the catch on the run. Davis Moore, who was sent home by Blue Bombers coach Brian Brandes from third base, scored what appeared to be the game-tying run.
But Heuvelton appealed the tag up, claiming Moore left the bag before the baseball made initial contact with McDonnell’s glove.
An infielder for the Bulldogs was instructed to throw to third base, which resulted in the third-base umpire calling out. The double play ended the contest.
Lake Placid lost, 4-3.
“(The umpire) said that it was a catch, and they were just concerned that he did tag up after the ball touched the right fielder the first time,” Brandes said. “The umpire at third base said, ‘It doesn’t matter because he never came back and actually touched the base.’
“That was my fault. I was blocked. I thought the ball was down. I didn’t think it was a catch. I should’ve had him tagging from the start.”
After being held scoreless for five innings, the Blue Bombers (5-9) pulled themselves within striking distance with three runs on two hits in the sixth.
Tucker Angelopoulos’ two-RBI double gave Lake Placid new life.
“They came back well,” Brandes said. “A week off hurt our hitting, though. We were on stride and hitting well through sectionals. Taking a week off hurt our timing a little bit. But we managed to get our timing back in the late innings. It would’ve been nice to tie that up.”
Jack Palmer got the start on the hill for Heuvelton. A right-handed senior, Palmer kept the Blue Bombers off-balance.
Palmer pitched 5.1 innings without allowing a run on two hits, no strikeouts and one walk. From the third to the sixth inning, he retired nine consecutive batters.
“His performance was excellent,” Bulldogs (19-2) coach David Steele said. “Coming into (Saturday), he was rested. Jack’s pitch count started getting up there, so we made the call when he walked those two batters (in the sixth); it was time to take him out.
“But Jack’s a phenomenal pitcher. He did a phenomenal job for us.”
Heuvelton, which is on an 18-game winning streak, outhit Lake Placid, 13-6.
“We had some good hits,” Steele said. “We left runners stranded on base several times. In fact, we ran ourselves off a couple times. In those situations, you give them momentum. We didn’t want to do that.”
After winning four out its previous five games, including a Section VII Class D title, the setback put the Blue Bombers at 5-9 overall.
“We were (0-6),” Brandes said. “We got Ryan Damp back. He had injured himself. Then, we went on a little roll. Our goal was to end .500. In order to end up .500, we would’ve had to go all the way to Binghamton and win. But it is what it is.”
The Bulldogs now advance to Binghamton University where it will meet Hancock of Section IV at 1 p.m. June 14.
Heuvelton 4, Lake Placid 3
Lake Placid 000 003 0 — 3 6 2
Heuvelton 020 110 x — 4 13 1
Williams, McNierney (4), Cassidy (5) and Preston. Palmer, Martin (6) and MacAulay. WP- Palmer. LP- Williams. 2B- Martin (HCS), Angelopoulos (LP).
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