PLATTSBURGH — One swing of Kyle Kowalowski’s bat took the wind out of the Airborne Speedway Padres’ sails Sunday afternoon.
Kowalowski’s grand slam erased the Lyon Mountain Miners’ 5-3 deficit and turned it into a 7-5 lead in the sixth inning as the visitors went on to gain the upper hand in the Champlain Valley Baseball League playoff finals with a 9-5 victory at Lefty Wilson Field.
Games two and three, if necessary, will be held this coming Sunday at the Big Ball Diamond in Lyon Mountain.
Kowalowski was a thorn in the Padres’ side all afternoon as he reached base five out of six times with a home run, two singles and two walks. He also had a RBI single in the first inning and finished with five RBI in all.
The Padres scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 5-2 lead. The Miners got one of the runs back in the fourth and then loaded the bases, with nobody out, in the sixth. That was it for Padres’ starter Frank Brogna and Kowalowski then greeted reliever Ben Weightman with his grand slam.
Kris Chase added two doubles, while David Waldron and Kasey Favreau chipped in with a single and double each in the Miners’ 12-hit attack. Jerry Kowalowski contributed a double.
Waldron went the first five innings for the pitching win and Justin Besaw blanked the Padres over the final four innings for the save.
Shane Perrotte and Mark Eggleston led Airborne Speedway with three hits each, while Matt Rivers and Jeff Norton added two apiece. Eggleston and Cory Trombley each had a double, while Norton drove in two runs.
The Padres had 14 hits in all and stranded 10 runners in the contest. Rivers and Norton led off the ninth inning with singles, but Besaw was able to retire the next three batters to end any thoughts of a Padres’ comeback.
Miners 9, Padres 5
Miners 101 014 011 — 9 12 0
Padres 104 000 000 — 5 14 2
Waldron, Besaw (6) and J. Kowalowski. Brogna, Weightman (6) and Eggleston. WP- Waldron. LP- Brogna. Sv- Besaw. 2B- Waldron (M), J. Kowalowski (M), Chase (M) 2, Favreau (M), Eggleston (P), Trombley (P). HR- K. Kowalowski (M).