PLATTSBURGH — The Saratoga Stampede U19 team took advantage of the Clinton County Mariners’ miscues Saturday, and then Mike Vargues broke open the game with a grand slam.
The Stampede beat the Mariners 8-2 in the American Legion District 4 Playoffs at Lefty Wilson Field to advance to today’s finals. Clinton County will meet the Tri-County Eagles at 10 a.m., and the winner would have to defeat Saratoga twice in the finals to claim the crown.
“We’re battling. We’re hanging in there; there’s still life left,” Mariners coach John Flynn said. “It was just one of those games where we didn’t play good. We’d been playing so good. It was a little hiccup, that’s what I’m calling it, and we’ll move forward.”
The Stampede plated two runs in the first inning when the Mariners had a miscommunication on a pop fly. Saratoga added a run in the third and scored again on an error in the fifth. But the Mariners were still in the game, trailing 4-2 after scoring in the third and fourth.
Then Vargues doubled the Stampede’s lead with one swing.
“The bases were loaded with nobody out. We struck out the next two, and then the guy just hit a good pitch,” Flynn said.
Vargues also doubled and singled, and he pitched the first eight innings to earn the win. Kyle Willmott added a double for Saratoga.
Will Flynn threw six innings and suffered the loss for the Mariners. Clinton County totaled four errors.
“Will pitched well enough to win; we just didn’t play defense behind him,” John Flynn said. “We ran ourselves out of two innings on two base-running mistakes. We need to regroup (today).”
Kevin Russell led the Mariners offensively with a triple and a single, and Brian Latulipe also had two hits.
Stampede 8, Mariners 2
Mariners 001 100 000 — 2 11 4
Stampede 201 014 000 — 8 8 2
Flynn, Rabideau (7) and Weightman. Vargues, Brock (9) and Chiseri. WP- Vargues. LP- Flynn. 2B- Vargues (S), Wilmott (S). 3B- Russell (M). HR- Vargues (S).