PLATTSBURGH — The Clinton County Junior Mariners’ baseball season hasn’t gone the way head coach Gary Duquette would have liked.
But the Mariners have a chance to end the campaign on a positive note this weekend in the Next Level Baseball League playoffs in Saratoga.
“We’ve had a lot of bad luck thus far this year,” Duquette said. “The ball hasn’t bounced our way.
“There have been so many games that we should have won where we have lost by one or two runs. I can see in the way some of the games have progressed that it wasn’t going to go our way.”
But it still has been a winning season for the Mariners, who come into the weekend with a 17-15 overall record.
“Our bats have come alive recently, and our defense has made a tremendous turnaround as the season has gone on,” Duquette said. “The only thing we need from our pitching is to cut down on the number of walks.
“We’ve had to work extra hard for our wins. It has been a good season for us, but we haven’t been able to get over that hump. We haven’t been able to win five or six in a row or eight out of 10.
“There has always been something. In all my years of coaching — and I’ve coached a lot of teams — I’ve never seen a team with so many ups and downs.”
There are six teams competing in the three-day, double-elimination tournament — the Mariners, Saratoga Junior Stampede 1, Saratoga Junior Stampede 2, Colchester Junior Cannons, Vermont Outlaws and Montreal Titans U17.
The top-seeded Stampede 1 and second-seeded Outlaws have byes in today’s opening round.
The third-seeded Mariners will play the sixth-seeded Cannons in a 5:30 p.m. contest at East Side Recreation Park.
If Clinton County wins, it will take on the Outlaws at 8 p.m. on the same field. If the Mariners lose, they won’t play again until Saturday.
“We’ve beaten these teams we’re going to play, and I expect us to do well,” Duquette said. “We’re the defending league champions, and we’re going down there to act like it.”
Next Level Baseball
(5) Montreal Titans vs. (4) Saratoga Stampede 2, Geyser Park, 5:30 p.m.
(6) Colchester Junior Cannons vs. (3) Clinton County Junior Mariners, East Side Recreation Park, 5:30 p.m.
Winner of Game 1 vs. (1) Saratoga Stampede 1, Geyser Park, 8 p.m.
Winner of Game 2 vs. (2) Vermont Outlaws, East Side Recreation Park, 8 p.m.