Hannah Ross truck out seven batters over eight innings to help led the Lady Sentinels to the Class C title.
For those who appreciate solid pitching and defense and all the pressure that comes with a championship on the line, the Class C baseball and softball championship games over the past two days were a dream come true.
Even more so if you were a fan of the Ticonderoga Sentinels.
Ryan Trudeau and Hannah Ross dominated on the mound for their respective teams and Jarryn Granger and Maura Jebb played walk-off heroes as both the baseball and softball teams scored 2-1 victories: the boys against Northern Adirondack and girls against Lake Placid, the third straight year the Lady Sentinels have scored a walk-off win against the Lady Blue Bombers to capture the Class C crown.
Tied 1-1 heading into the seventh inning May 28, Ross twice battled back from having a runner on third with only one out in the inning to keep Lake Placid off the board. In the seventh, Ross got ground outs to the shortstop and pitcher while getting grounders to second and third to end the eighth.
I was nervous at the start of the game,” Ross said. “I have faith in everyone that was behind me making the plays that needed to be made. When we pull together as a team we can make it work.”
That set the stage for the bottom of the eighth, when Jebb came to the mound after going 0 for 3 in the first seven.
“I was on the ball all night I just needed to get it to the right spot,” Jebb said of her ball hit deep into the hole on the left side of the field which she beat out for an infield hit.
Haleigh Wright (2 for 4, double) followed with a single to put runners on first and second. Nicole Fuller, who filled in at catcher with ease, then hit a ball to second base for a force out, sending Jebb and Wright to third and second, respectively.
With Sadie Hamel at the plate, the Lake Placid catcher was unable to handle a ball in the dirt and after a small hesitation, Jebb broke for home.
“The first thing I am always doing is listening to my coach,” Jebb said about the decision. “I am always role playing in my mind what I would do in different situations. I wasn’t planning on going but my coach yelled at the last second.”
After sliding into home, Jebb said she could not see or hear the umpire make the final call.
“I looked back at my coach to see the expression on her face and that’s when I knew we won,” she said.
After walking two with one scoring in the top of the first, Ross followed with seven scoreless innings, striking out six while scattering seven hits.
The Sentinels tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Savannah Bezon (1 for 3) led off with a double. After a Kylie Austin ground out, Lexi Moor lined a ball up the middle of the field to score Bezon. In the game, Moore was 2 for 2 with a stolen base and RBI. She was also hit by a pitch.
“It was a sigh of relief for me to get that run home,” Moore said. “We had been hitting the ball well in the game, but I had not been hitting that well so it was a nice surprise.”
A day earlier, May 27, It was the Sentinel baseball team that scored first as Trudeau drove home Mark Donohue on a fielders choice in the first inning.
Trudeau surrendered his lone run of the game in the fifth, overall surrendering only three hits while walking two and striking out nine.
“Ryan Trudeau came up very big on multiple occasions,” head coach Dan Dorsett said. “He was able to get out of every inning except one with runners in scoring position.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Dom Banish battled with an 0-2 count before hitting a ball to left field which fell.
“The player lost sight of the ball and being a heads up player Dom advanced to second and into scoring position,” Dorsett said.
The game was then decided on the next pitch.
“Jarryn hit the first pitch he saw to left field for the game winning RBI and walk off win,” Dorsett said.
Dorsett said while their game against Plattsburgh High was important to keep them sharp, it was their experience that was key to playing in close games.
“Our entire season prepared us for that moment not just one game,” he said. “We are confident heading into sectionals in that we have a lot of players with a great deal of experience being in regional play. We also have played some tough opponents this year in our league and while south so we feel we can compete.”
The Sentinels committed a pair of errors in the game, something Dorsett wants to eliminate in the next round of play.
“Heading into regionals we needed to be crisper on defense because we are going to be tested,” he said. “In addition, our offense needs to work hard on making good contact with the ball so that we can put some pressure on their defense to make difficult rather than routine plays.
“To win in regional play we are going to need to play at our highest level of the season,” Dorsett added. “That is what we have been pushing ourselves to do everyday in practice so I know we can adjust to the situation.”