Saranac rallies to defeat NCCS, 7-6

May 27—PLATTSBURGH — Saranac never lost faith as the game marched on.

"In the top of the seventh inning we knew that we had to work our butts off in order to pull this off," Spartan Molly Denis said. "I don't think there was even a thought of doubt in anyone's mind.

"We went to the bottom of the seventh with nothing but hope and grit and we were excited that we got the win."

Saranac scored three runs in the seventh inning to come from behind to defeat NCCS, 7-6 in the Section VII Class B softball championship at Cardinal Park.

It all started with Abby Owen, who laced the ball into deep right field to get a double and start the rally. Molly Denis recorded a double as well to score Owen, making it 7-5 Cougars.

After an Irelyn Ryan groundout, Maddie Gagnier would hit a double to score Denis and tie the game. Then McKenzie Hanson stepped up to the plate.

"I just knew I had to stay calm and hit the ball and we all worked together really well," Hanson said. "I love this team and I think we can go pretty fine as we keep working together."

What happened next sealed the comeback.

Hanson connected on the ball, sending it over the outstretched hand of the second baseman, and Gagnier rounded the bases with her hands high.

Hanson touched first and rounded it, throwing her hands up while running to her teammates that were rushing to greet her.

"Yeah, I knew once I made contact that I could get there and win it," Hanson said. "It was kind of a relief, really. And a lot of excitement. "

The Spartans celebrated in the infield with each other before making their way to the dugout.

"All game long they remained positive," Saranac Sam Campbell said. "There was never a sad look or disappointed look on anybody's face."

"Even if they got out. It was just, you know, hey, I'll get it the next time or we'll get it the next time and just kept working. They're extremely positive all day."

They needed that mentality as NCCS scored early on a double steal to open the game. A second run in the first made it 2-0.

The Spartans countered with two runs of their own when Gagnier lined a single to plate the runs and make it 2-2.

Saranac would take the lead in the bottom of the as Abby Owen grounded out and Oliva Squier.

The Cougars retaliated in the top of the fifth. Krista Sebert, Emma Guay and Kirsten Stahl recorded back-to-back-to-back singles to score three runs, taking a 5-3 lead.

Gagnier was at it again in the fifth as she singled in another RBI to bring the Spartans within one run.

NCCS' Lexi Roberts responded with an RBI double in the top of the seventh to get a two-run lead. Saranac would then respond in the seventh.

"Northeastern was well prepared," Campbell said. "They hit the ball better than they have against us all year. Their defense played outstanding.

"Luckily for us, we do the same thing we've been doing all year. We've been able to put groups of runs together in a couple of multiple innings. Not the way it was designed, but we'll take the result, you know? Anyway, you get a great win, especially with the team and it's hard to beat a team three times when you play them, in our league and it's competitive."

Ryan admittedly had some early jitters, which NCCS was able to capitalize on in the first. But, once she settled down it was business and she went to work.

She would strike out 12 batters and put her body on the line numerous times as she would dive for balls that were in her vicinity.

"I think being a freshman she was maybe a little over excited to start and hit the first batter of the game," Campbell said. "Then they got to hit, scored a couple runs and you know she had to learn to kind of calm herself down and get back to reality.

"Then she had to start to be able to locate the ball a little better and got some strikeouts, timely strikeouts and you know she's a competitor. I mean you watch her dive on the field of her balls and stuff like that. So you just settle down and keep going."

With their second consecutive Section VII title, the Spartans get a bit of rest before they play again. They'll face the winner of the Section II's Schuylerville (17-5) and X's Gouverneur (19-1) matchup, which takes place Thursday.

Saranac will return to the field Saturday at Cardinal Park with the mindset of making the Final Four.

"I think we're going to do what we have done since the beginning of the year, which is just show up to practice every single day, work hard and give it everything we have when it comes to game time," Denis said.

Saranac 7, NCCS 6



Lafountain and Johnston. Ryan and Denis. WP- Ryan. LP- Johnston. 2B- Owen (SCS), Denis (SCS) Gagnier (SCS), Roberts (NCCS)