By JOHN CORYER Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Clinton County Senior Mariners opened their 2013 American Legion baseball season successfully on Sunday at Lefty Wilson Field.
The Mariners, however, were put to the test while sweeping a 4-3 and 5-4 doubleheader from the Granville Legion.
In the opener, Granville and hard-throwing starting pitcher Nick Burch held a 3-1 lead before Clinton County rallied for a run in the fifth and then took the lead with two in the sixth.
Mitchell Cunningham’s single to center drove in the tying run and the winning run scored when the ball got by the outfielder.
Robby Knowles allowed five hits and struck out nine in going the route for the pitching win.
“We faced a very good pitcher, who was clocked at 88 miles-per-hour, in the first game,” Mariners coach Matt Tolosky said. “We had to overcome some mistakes and that was understandable with it being our first game of the season.
“The players showed some real heart in coming back to win. I have to credit Rob Knowles for working through the errors. He struck nine, we were able to battle back and it was a good team experience for us.”
In the second game, Granville broke on top with three runs in the first before the Mariners rallied for four in the bottom of the third. The visitors tied it with one in the fourth and it stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh.
With one out, Logan Recor singled, Jeremy Barber bunted for a hit and both runners moved up on a passed ball. Marcus Lefebvre then delivered a game-winning RBI single to left field.
Conor Casey, who took over in relief in the first inning, went the rest of the way to earn the pitching win.
Recor went three-for-three at the plate, giving him five hits on the day. Barber and Lefebvre finished with two hits each.
Burch, who rapped a double in the opener, paced Granville in the second contest with a single and double.
“Conor Casey deserves a lot of credit,” Tolosky said. “He struck out 11. And we played better defense in the second game. It was a nip-and-tuck game throughout and we had to adjust to a pitcher who wasn’t throwing as hard.
“But, once again, we hung in there.”
Both teams were missing players. The Mariners have three players — Ryan Meyer, Brandon Rabideau and Adam Goldfarb — who are involved in the state high school playoffs and another player — Kasey Favreau — who is out with an injury. Granville is also without players, including some who play for Fort Ann.
The Mariners return to the diamond on Wednesday when they host the Norfolk Rovers in a league game at 6 p.m. at Lefty Wilson Field.
Mariners 4, Granville 3
Granville 200 100 0 — 3 5 2
Mariners 100 012 x — 4 7 5
Burch and Sipowicz. Knowles and Roenbeck. WP- Knowles. LP- Burch. 2B- Steele (G), Burch (G).
Mariners 5, Granville 4
Granville 300 100 0 — 4 4 2
Mariners 004 000 1 — 5 10 2
Steele, Mullins (4) and Sipowicz. Recor, Casey (1) ad Roenbeck. WP- Casey. LP- Mullins. 2B- Burch (G).