PLATTSBURGH - A different year with the same painful result.
On Wednesday at the SUNY Plattsburgh softball diamond, Ticonderoga rallied past Lake Placid to claim the Section VII, Class C title, and it marked the third year in a row the Sentinels captured the crown with a walk-off win over the Blue Bombers.
Two years ago, the Sentinels used a grand-slam in its final at-bat to claim the title. Last spring, they won it in the bottom of the ninth inning. This time around, and again in extra innings, Maura Jebb took advantage of a ball that got past Lake Placid catcher Liz Bimonte when she slid home in the bottom of the eighth to lift Ticonderoga to a 2-1 victory.
Standing in the third-base box, Ticonderoga coach Shelly Young reacts as Maura Jeb of the Sentinels slides into home with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning of Wednesday’s Class C final at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Wednesday marked the fifth straight season Lake Placid has come up empty in a Section VII championship game, including the past four years in showdowns with Ticonderoga.
Lake Placid grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and held onto it until Ticonderoga scored a tying run in the fourth. After the Blue Bombers stranded a runner on third during its trips to the plate seventh and eighth innings, and the Sentinels did the same in the seventh, the top of Ticonderoga's batting order came through in the eighth as two runners reached base on singles and Jebb then made it home to end the game.
"Three years in a row, it's come down to the last inning," Ticonderoga coach Shelly Young said. "It was a walk-off double last year. Two years ago it was a walk-off grand-slam. These games against Lake Placid, it's like winning the coin toss."
"It's disappointing, but the girls played great," Lake Placid coach Donna Moody said. "Both teams played great. I'd rather be in it and come up short than not be in it. We had chances, they had chances, and unfortunately, they had one more than we did."
In the well-played, error-free contest, Ticonderoga finished with six hits and Lake Placid had five.
Shortstop Taylor Maiorca led off the game with a walk for Lake Placid, and the senior eventually reached home on a passed ball to give her team a 1-0 edge. The Sentinels had their bats going early against Blue Bombers pitcher Carissa Kennedy, but a solid defense behind her kept top-seeded Ticonderoga off the board early on.
That changed in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Savannah Bezon doubled for Ticonderoga, and advanced to third on a sacrifice grounder by Kylie Austin. Then with two outs, Lexi Moore singled to push Bezon across the plate with the tying run.
After the Blue Bombers rapped out just one single against Sentinels starting pitcher Hannah Ross during the first four innings, they scattered four hits the rest of the way. Two of Lake Placid's hits, singles by Payton Barney and Cheyenne Blair, came in the top of the fifth but the Blue Bombers were unable to score. Kennedy also singled in the sixth and was eventually stranded on second.
Barney blasted a lead-off double in the top of the seventh that nearly reach the home run fence in centerfield to put Lake Placid in a great position to score a go-ahead run. The junior advanced to third on a sacrifice grounder by Hanna Potter, but the Blue Bombers were unable get Barney home.
After the Sentinels left Moore stranded at third in the bottom of the seventh, Alexis Megliore led off the eighth with an infield single for the Blue Bombers. She reached second on a passed ball and moved to third on a sacrifice from Kennedy. But Megliore was also left standing on third base when the inning ended.
The Sentinels then took care of business in their half of the eighth. Jebb and Haleigh Wright led off with singles, and then advanced to second and third base on a fielder's choice play. With Ticonderoga's Sadie Hamel at the plate, Kennedy threw a pitch that wound up at the backstop, and Jebb sprinted home and slid in with the winning run.
"Both teams played great defense, and if you play error-free, sometimes you only need one run," Young said. "We were fortunate having our first four batters up (in the eighth). They've been hitting well all season."
Both pitchers went the distance during solid performances. Ross picked up the win and Kennedy, Lake Placid's ace, suffered the loss.
The Sentinels improved to 11-3 and will now the face Section X champion, which will be either Bruston-Moira or St. Lawrence Central. Lake Placid ended the season with a 9-7, with one of those wins coming against Ticonderoga during the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference campaign.