PLATTSBURGH — The Clinton County Senior Mariners play in a lot of baseball tournaments during the season and welcome the opportunity to go up against strong American Legion opponents.
There’s a reason for it.
“We play a vigorous schedule for this type of weekend we have ahead of us,” Mariners coach John Flynn said. “We’re shooting to play three games and I think we’re ready to go. We’ve had two great practices and everything is positive.”
The season is on the line this weekend for the Mariners (24-9) when they host the District 4 American Legion Tournament.
“The difference in playing tournaments during the season and playing this one is that we’re done if we don’t win this weekend,” Flynn said. “The state playoffs are the following week and we have to take one game at a time from this point on.
“Our players are a funny bunch in a way because they don’t feel pressure that much. I probably feel more pressure than they do because I know how good our team is.”
The six-team, double-elimination event begins this afternoon with two games — the Tri-County Eagles versus Granville Post 323 at 1 p.m. at South Acres Field, and Malone Post 219 against the Norfolk Rovers at 2 p.m. at Lefty Wilson Field.
The Mariners and Saratoga Stampede have first-round byes and will play later in the day. Clinton County takes on the winner of the Malone/Norfolk game at 6 p.m. at Wilson Field, while Saratoga gets the Tri-County/Granville survivor at 5 p.m. at South Acres.
“Tri-County is the defending district champion,” Flynn said. Saratoga, meanwhile, brings an impressive record into the event.
All games are nine innings in regulation length, not the usual seven innings.
“That does come into play because the pitchers are used to seven-inning games,” said Flynn. “Everyone has to be on board and ready to step up in relief if they are needed.”
Flynn said he had a tired team in the Coopers Cave Tournament and he believes the time off since then has helped immensely.
“We played great in the Anaconda Tournament, but I could see we were a tired team in the Coopers Cave Tournament,” Flynn said. “I think we’re playing well right now and our players are relaxed and rested. Absolutely, it was good for them to get a break from playing.”
The practices leading up to the weekend have been good ones.
“We have no excuses, we need to play the way we’re capable of,” said Flynn. “We worked in practice on the little things that can put you over the top. We can’t be any more ready to play.”
Playing at home could also a big boost for the Mariners.
“We’re home and we’re hoping a lot of fans come out to watch us,” Flynn said. “We use the long ball, we play good defense and we have pretty good pitching. We’re a fun team to watch.”
Despite a roster of just 13, the Mariners have plenty of arms with Kasey Favreau, Will Flynn, Robby Knowles, Ben Weightman, Brandon Rabideau, Logan Recor, Jake Richards, Kevin Russell and C.J. Worley all capable of mound duty.
Flynn wouldn’t name his Game 1 starter and said he needed to sleep on it.
Brian Latulipe, Chris Roenbeck, Joe Tolosky and Tom Curran round out the roster and are key players both offensively and defensively.
Senior District 4 Playoffs
Tri-County Eagles vs. Granville Post 323, South Acres Field, 1 p.m.
Malone Post 219 vs. Norfolk Rovers, Lefty Wilson Field, 2 p.m.
Tri-County Eagles/Granville Post 323 winner vs. Saratoga Stampede, South Acres Field, 5 p.m.
Malone Post 219/Norfolk Rovers winner vs. Clinton County Mariners, Lefty Wilson Field, 6 p.m.
Winner’s and loser’s bracket games, Lefty Wilson Field, TBD
Semifinal and finals, Lefty Wilson Field, TBD