All season long, the Skaneateles baseball team searched for consistency, but never found it until it was playing for the highest stakes.
From a no. 12 seed, the Lakers made an inspired run through the Section III Class B playoffs, not getting stopped until Sunday's semifinal round, where top seed Clinton prevailed by a 5-3 margin.
Having already avenged two regular-season defeats to Cazenovia in a 13-2 playoff opener on May 21, the Lakers waited out two days of rain delays before going back to work on Saturday and pulling off another surprise, stopping no. 4 seed Solvay 10-5 in the Class B quarterfinals.
Prior to that, the Bearcats had won 12 in a row, and that included back-to-back conquests of Skaneateles by margins of 11-5 and 7-5 on May 6 and 7.
Less than three weeks later, the third encounter appeared on the same course, as the Lakers trailed 3-0 after four innings. But in the top of the fifth, Skaneateles broke through in a big way against pitches Jake Cintron and Dan Fantacone, scoring six times to go in front.
A four-run outburst followed in the top of the sixth, the cause aided by five Solvay errors. Still, John Texeira and Sepp Martin each had two RBIs, while Nick Tortora scored twice. Conor Herr pitched five innings to earn the win, with Will Dougherty going the remaining two innings in relief.
With no time to rest, the Lakers had to turn around and, less than 24 hours later, meet Clinton, who had played its quarterfinal game three days earlier, edging Utica-Notre Dame 2-1 and gaining some rest before going into the next round.
Skaneateles kept it 0-0 until the bottom of the third, when Clinton struck for a run. But the Warriors saved its big move for the fourth inning, when it scored three times and extended its lead to 4-0.
Trying to make one more comeback, the Lakers pushed across single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but could not string together the big rally it needed, Clinton hanging on and advancing to meet defending champion Westhill in the sectional final Monday at DeLutis Field in Rome.
This playoff run did allow the Lakers to finish with an 11-10 record. Eight seniors will depart, including Herr, Dougherty, Tortora, Luke Drancsak, Kieran Daley, Ryan Cunningham, Max Weiss and Connor Hurley, but the likes of Texiera and Martin return for 2014.