PLATTSBURGH — Gary Duquette believes his Clinton County Junior Mariners are currently playing their best baseball of the season.
That’s one of the reasons why he expects the Mariners to do well this weekend in the American Legion District 4 Playoffs.
“I feel tremendously confident with the team,” Duquette said. “We’ve improved mightily in our last six games.”
The Mariners will compete against the Saratoga Stampede U17, Saratoga Stampede U16 and Tri-County Eagles for the district title in the double-elimination event.
Clinton County takes on the Stampede U17 tonight at 6 p.m. in the opening round at Saratoga’s East Side Recreation Park.
The Mariners enter the tournament with a 10-12 overall record, but their head coach likes the improvement he sees in a number of areas.
“We have gotten a lot better on defense,” Duquette said. “We were killing ourselves with errors until the last six games where we have played well.
“We have also become more disciplined at the plate. We’re not just going up there hacking away now. We’re working the count and getting into hitters’ counts. And we need to continue to get our top of the order on base so they can use their speed and set the table for our middle of the line-up.”
Duquette has been pleased with the Mariners’ pitching even though at times he wants to see his hurlers make the opponents earn their way on base more.
“Our pitchers have been pretty consistent,” he said. “They just need to cut down on their walks some.”
Duquette is counting on this weekend’s foes to see a better version of the Mariners this time around.
“We’ve beaten these teams and they’ve beaten us,” he said. “But I feel we’re a much better team now.
“We’ve got our top three pitchers in Quenton Barber, Tanner Rascoe and Ryan Meyer ready to go.”
The remainder of the Mariners team includes Jack Tolosky, Brandon Buksa, Justin Stevens, Blake Altizer, Jeremy Barber, Mitchell Cunningham, Dominick Delello, Nathan Emery, Adam Goldfarb and Andrew Kneussle.
Junior District 4 Playoffs
At East Side Recreation Park, Saratoga
Clinton County Mariners vs. Saratoga Stampede U17, 6 p.m.
Tri-County Eagles vs. Saratoga Stampede U16, 8:15 p.m.
Winner’s and loser’s bracket games, TBD
Finals, 1 p.m., TBD