by Matthew Wilson
Down to the game’s final out, the matchup between North Country’s Falcons and Lake Region’s Rangers on Saturday saw each team testing the other. Both showed off their pitcher’s skill and the quick thinking of defensive players in the outfield. Both sides did their utmost to stifle any attempt at letting an opponent cross the home plate.
As the game began, spectators were heard commenting on how the blue skies were a natural contrast to the players’ uniforms. Each team brought some bright pink onto the field in support of breast cancer awareness. The Falcons wore pink socks and hats, the Rangers had hot pink jerseys.
Through the first two innings, North Country managed to squeeze in a single run. Ranger Gabe Gardner stole both second and third base, but couldn’t find his way home before the inning closed. At the top of the third inning, Lake Region pitcher Johnathan Piers struck out three of four Falcons to step up to bat, one getting walked. North Country’s Joe LeBlanc did the same, except without letting a single Ranger put a toe on first base.
In the fourth, LeBlanc was the first up, with a sharply hit ball to deep left field he earned himself a quick double. A sacrifice fly from Tate Parker sent LeBlanc home and garnered another run for the Falcons. Back on the mound LeBlanc retired the next three Rangers in order.
To start the fourth inning, the Falcons got another run and loaded the bases, but all three runners were stranded when Piers struck out a pair of Falcons and induced a weak hit that saw the third thrown out at first.
In their half of the inning the Rangers also filled the bases, but saw no one reach home.
Sharp pitching and fielding, produced similar results in the sixth and beginning of the seventh inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, the game got tense with North Country leading by a score of three to one.
Lake Region’s Rangers loaded the bases and as Gabe Gardener stepped up to bat, a hush fell over the crowd. If he could get a double, a triple, or take it even further, the game could be tied or won by the Rangers.
Gardner reached base on a hit to center field but the Falcons were too swift and held him at first. With one more Ranger run on the board Jonathan Gilcris had a chance to win the game for his team. Despite his best efforts, Gilcris couldn’t get the hit the Rangers needed and the game ended with the Falcons taking the victory, three points to the Ranger’s two.