OLD ORCHARD BEACH — After besting the visiting Plattsburgh Redbirds on Friday night at The Ballpark to stay alive in the Empire League championship series, the Old Orchard Beach Surge needed a repeat performance Saturday night to force a fifth and decisive game.

It didn’t happen. The Surge fell into an early hole and lost 7-4 as the Redbirds captured the league title.

“Really just have to be proud of this season,” said Surge Manager Pascual Santiago. “We played the first half of the season to a .500 record, then we caught fire and had the best record in the second half. Obviously we would have liked to have won the title, but we had a great year. We had five guys move up (to other professional independent leagues) – and that’s no excuse, but to still get here is impressive.”

In the top of the first inning, Plattsburgh needed just one hit to push three runs across the plate. Surge starting pitcher Eric Mozeika struggled with control, and Raul Shah made him pay with a two-run single.

“Even down three right away, it didn’t feel like the game was over or out of reach at all,” said Santiago. “We expected the bats to come to life and get us rolling at some point. Our starter didn’t look like his normal self early on, but we were confident we could score behind him.”

Mozeika surrendered a hit by pitch and four walks around the Shah single. He came out after five innings, allowing four earned runs.

Control continued to plague the Old Orchard Beach ace in the third inning, as he walked Johnny Cole and Shah back-to-back with one out. Brian Brademan singled to right to score Cole for a 4-0 advantage.

The Surge finally broke through against Redbirds starter Grant Black in the bottom of the fourth when Tony Bakeris knocked home Jacob Bissell on a fielder’s choice.

The Redbirds broke it open in the sixth. After Plattsburgh loaded the bases with no outs, Christian Nazario-Cruz’s suicide squeezed brought home the fifth run. Josh Martinez followed by blistering a single into center field to make it 7-1.

Old Orchard Beach added its second run when Mike Davis hit a liner off the wall in left-center that scored Kevin Phelps. One batter later, Kevin Putkonen singled home Davis to make it 7-3.

Putkonen’s single ended the night for Black, who scattered seven hits and struck out three while giving up three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings.

“He did a really nice job against us tonight,” said Santiago. “He hit all of his spots and moved the ball around well. When he needed to, he changed speeds to get us off balance.”

Gevon Jackson got one more back for OOB when he led off the bottom of the eighth with a no-doubt home run into the trees beyond the left-field fence.