T-Birds edge WIld in Game 1 of EPBL championship

LOU REUTER/ADIRONDACK DAILY ENTERPRISE

Plattsburgh Thunderbirds shortstop Mohammed Hussein chases down Patrick Sheehan of the New Hampshire Wild during Game 1 of the EPBL championship series Wednesday in Saranac Lake.

SARANAC LAKE — Plattsburgh is one win away from its second Empire Pro Baseball League championship in three seasons.

Stephen Octave finished with a home run and double as well as five RBIs to lead the Thunderbirds to a 7-6 win over New Hampshire in Game 1 of the EPBL Championship Series.

Plattsburgh will have a chance to capture the EPBL title when it clashes with the Wild at noon today in the second game of the series at Wilson-Raymond Field in Saranac Lake.

Octave gave the Thunderbirds the lead for good with a three-run blast in the seventh frame that brought home Jordan Holloman and Simon Palenchar.

Plattsburgh's Alex Vargas got into a bit of trouble in the ninth inning and allowed one run on two hits, but he wiggled out of trouble and notched the save.

Down by two in the ninth, New Hampshire cuts its deficit to one run when Kenneth Hutchinson drove in Steven Figueroa with a RBI single.

Hutchinson, the tying run, made it to second, but Vargas got Patrick Sheehan to ground out to end the game.

The Wild jumped out to an early lead thanks to an RBI single by Sheehan in the first, but the Thunderbirds responded in the bottom half of the opening frame after Octave ripped a two-run triple.

New Hampshire regained the lead with a three-run fifth.

Figueroa blasted a solo homer, Hutchinson recorded an RBI single and Hutchinson scored on an E5.

The Wild saw their 4-2 advantage split in half during the next half inning after a solo shot from Plattsburgh's Hiroki Itakura.

Figueroa's RBI groundout to second plated Donovan Clark in the sixth to extend New Hampshire's advantage back to two runs.

The Thunderbirds continued to be pesky in the bottom of the sixth frame when Danny Muller's RBI grounder to short plated Adam Tricarico and cut Plattsburgh's deficit to 5-4.

Thunderbirds pitcher Chikara Igami tossed three innings of one-run relief and gave up just one hit and struck out three batters to collect the pitching victory.

Plattsburgh's Andrew Kramer started the matchup and worked five innings of four-run ball, surrendering three earned runs on eight hits and three walks.

Palenchar was the only other member of the Thunderbirds to register two hits.

The Wild's Justin Lemanski pitched 1.2 innings and was tagged with the loss, giving up two earned runs on three base knocks, including Octave's go-ahead home run in the seventh.

Hutchinson totaled a game-high three hits, which were all singles, to pace the New Hampshire lineup, while Figueroa and Hutchinson tied for a team-high two RBIs.

If the Wild defeat Plattsburgh today, the two teams will play a decisive Game 3 at noon Friday back at Wilson-Raymond Field.

Plattsburgh 7, New Hampshire 6

New Hampshire 100 031 001 — 6 11 1

Plattsburgh 200 011 30X — 7 10 1

Gratton, Lemanski (6), Steinfort (8), Nicolace (8) and Mettica. Kramer, Igami (6), Vargas (9) and Kellerman. WP- Igami. LP- Lemanski. SV- Vargas. 2B- Washington (NH), Holloman (P), Muller (P). 3B- Shkrelja (NH), Octave (P), Tricarico (P). HR- Figueroa (NH), Itakura (P), Octave (P).

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