---- — PLATTSBURGH — The top-seeded Clinton County Junior Mariners pushed across four runs in the bottom of the first inning Friday.
That was more than enough for Brandon Buksa.
Buksa tossed a three-hitter and struck out 10 while pitching the Mariners to a 4-0 victory over the Colchester Junior Cannons in the Next Level Baseball League Tournament at Lefty Wilson Field.
The Junior Cannons advanced in the winner’s bracket with a 1-0 decision over the Vermont Outlaws earlier in the day.
Colchester had no answer for Buksa.
“Buksa was outstanding,” Mariners coach Gary Duquette said. “He had a very good fastball and good control of his secondary pitches, especially his change. Brandon struck out the side twice in the game.”
Clinton County bunched together four of its seven hits in the game to score four times in the first.
Singles by Zach Bingel, Buksa and Caleb Keysor loaded the bases. Dan Hartman then reached on an error, with one run scoring. Quenton Barber delivered the big hit of the inning, a two-run single, before Andy Kneussle hit into a fielder’s choice, with the fourth run of the inning scoring.
“I think Brandon threw only eight pitches to retire the side in the top of the first inning, and then we jumped all over them for four runs in the bottom of the first,” Duquette said. “It was nice to get in front early.
“We still stranded nine runners, however.”
Keysor and Hartman paced the Mariners with two hits each, while Barber, Buksa and Bingel added one apiece.
In other games Friday, Whitehall recorded a 5-3 win over the Montreal Titans U17 and the second-seeded Saratoga Junior Stampede was an 8-2 winner over Whitehall.
Today, in loser’s bracket elimination games, the Cannons and Titans play at 10 a.m. at South Acres Field, while the Outlaws and Whitehall tangle at 10 a.m. at Lefty Wilson Field. The winners of those two games will play at 1 p.m. at Lefty Wilson Field, with the survivor moving on.
The Mariners and Stampede, who both had byes in the opening round of the double-elimination event, will then battle at 4 p.m. at Lefty Wilson Field in a winner’s bracket contest.
“We have Andy Kneussle and Quenton Barber ready to go,” Duquette said. “It’s like having three No. 1 starters.
Junior Mariners 4, Junior Cannons 0
Junior Cannons 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
Junior Mariners 400 000 x — 4 7 1
Baez, McDowell (5) and Laroche. Buksa and Hartman. WP- Buksa. LP- Baez.