TUPPER LAKE, NY – This past weekend, the Saranac Lake Surge traveled to Tupper Lake to take on their cross-lake
rival in a four game series. Prior to the set, the Riverpigs were coming off a series victory
against the New Hampshire Wild while the Surge split wins with the Plattsburgh Thunderbirds
earlier in the week.
For Tupper Lake fans, excitement could not have been at a higher level after watching their
team secure a series win for the first time in over a year. With the Riverpigs documenting
themselves into the win column, momentum was high and the hopes for a second consecutive
series win was in sight.
On the other hand, the Surge were coming off a disappointing game four loss to the
Thunderbirds, so a series win against Tupper Lake would prove to be critical in order to boost
confidence and, ultimately, bolster themselves into becoming a contender.
Even though the turnout of fans for game one was disappointing, baseball and a good matchup
was all the players on both teams could possibly think about. Starting pitcher for the Surge,
Joey Lara, came out firing early, allowing only one run through nearly eight innings pitched to go
along with seven K’s and a minimal three hits.
While the defense of the Surge was proving to be dominant in the early going, the offense was
doing everything they needed to. After a shutout first inning from both squads, the Surge bats started to get going, putting up three runs in the second inning behind a three run RBI double by shortstop Juan Pena. Second baseman AJ Wright provided his team with two doubles while
Kenny Hernandez hit for three singles throughout the course of the game to help boost their
teams’ overall run total to 6.
Even though the defense of the Riverpigs would start to bear down and limit hits while the bats
of TL finally got going in the eighth and ninth innings, the overall game of the Surge became too
difficult to handle as they would steal the first game of the series, 6-2.
Coming off of a loss in game one, the Tupper Lake Riverpigs were eager to secure their first win
of the series.
Following a back-and-forth first couple of innings to start game two, play was seeming to
become a dog fight until the offense of Tupper absolutely exploded in the bottom half of the third
inning. The Riverpigs posted a staggering and eye-catching 14 runs in the third behind an
impressive outing from shortstop Robert Antunez who would tally a total of four hits highlighted
by both a double and a triple to go along with seven total bases and six RBIs.
While it didn’t seem like the bats could possibly equal the efforts of the third, momentum would
not slow as ten more runs would be scored throughout the duration of the game to bolster their
game runs total to a blistering 26.
Ultimately, a complete game wouldn’t be necessary as the Tupper Lake Riverpigs would go on
to run-rule the Surge 26-8 to end the game after seven innings. The fans witnessed a booming
spray chart of hits and dominance while the home team Riverpigs received a much needed
game two victory to even the series with two games to play.
After an unbelievable showing in game two by the Tupper Lake offense, game three seemed as
if it was automatically going to be won by the Pigs. Though, coming off an embarrassing loss,
the Surge looked to silence the hype and take game three. With the series tied at one game a
piece, both cross-town rivals understood the importance of this specific matchup and what they
needed to do in order to have a chance at taking the set lead.
To start the game, the Riverpigs provided the home crowd with a sense of nostalgia by
immediately placing a comfortable five runs on the board in the bottom of the first to take an
early 5-0 lead. Down the stretch of the first half of the game, Tupper Lake would tally four more
runs to put a total of nine runs onto the scoreboard heading into the bottom half of the outing.
Starting pitcher Hector Rovain was impressive in his first few innings, allowing only one run
throughout his first five innings pitched. The Surge would, however, dwindle the Riverpig lead
after posting six total runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Even when it seemed like Tupper Lake was fixing to give up their lead and slow down, they
continued to make life difficult for the Surge after finishing their final two innings, offensively, with
five runs. The result of game three would end in a 14-10 victory for the Tupper Lake Riverpigs,
securing them their second win of the series and, at worst, a series split with Saranac Lake.
After coming off back-to-back W’s, Tupper Lake was ecstatic to get the final game of the series
underway with a potential series clincher in close reach. The Saranac Lake Surge knew the
pressures they faced after dropping two straight and that a possible 1-3 series loss would
damage their overall standing with the entirety of the league.
The first three innings of game four of the series became a pitching showcase for Riverpigs
starter Jared Dingus after throwing shutout. To provide their pitcher with a cushion, the offense
of Tupper Lake tacked on two runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead.
Saranac Lake began to find some momentum behind the plate after putting up a pair of two runs
in innings four and five behind a two run jack by outfielder Brandon Gutzler.
A three run innings in the bottom of the fourth innings would, however, give the Riverpigs the
outright lead. Throughout the course of the rest of the game, pitching and defense highlighted
scoreless innings from the bottom of the fifth on.
Game four would end in a low scoring, 5-4 victory for the Tupper Lake Riverpigs. Following the
game four victory, the Riverpigs would improve to a first place standing of 5-2 thus far in the
season, while Saranac Lake would drop to 2-5 to start the summer
Article by Jack Burgess
Empire League Media