---- — PLATTSBURGH — Even though the Clinton County Senior Mariners are a better baseball team than they were at the beginning of the season, coach Matt Tolosky feels there’s room for improvement.
“I still believe the best is yet to come,” Tolosky said. “We haven’t reached our full potential.”
Tolosky is hoping this weekend’s American Legion District IV Tournament will bring out the best in the Mariners. The double-elimination event is being hosted by Granville Post #323 and will include the Mariner, Malone Post #219 and possibley Norfolk Rovers post #925.
Norfolk, however, likely will not have enough players and is expected to forfeit out of the tournament.
In today’s first-round action, top-seeded Clinton County will play Malone at Castleton State. If Norfolk drops out, third-seeded Granville gets the first-round bye.
“Our motivation should come from knowing how tough these teams have played us this season,” Tolosky said. “They’ve already proven themselves against us, and we’re not about to overlook anyone.”
Malone has been a problem for the Mariners. Post #219 has won 2-of-3 games from Clinton County, 1-1 in league play and 1-0 in tournament action.
Clinton County and Granville, who were both missing players due to the state high school baseball tournament, opened the season in Plattsburgh and the Mariners emerged with two one-run victories.
“I think we’ll be ready to play,” Tolosky said. “It’s important to stay in the winner’s bracket where you would play less games.”
The Mariners, who are 18-8 overall, are a battle-tested team after playing a difficult non-district schedule.
“Our 18-8 record is very good considering the competition we’ve played,” Tolosky said. “We’ve played the defending American Legion state champions from Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, as well as some other quality programs. That competition has prepared us for the Districts.”
The Mariners’ pitching and defense have been solid for the most part this season.
“Our pitching staff is deeper than I first expected, and that helps knowing we will now be playing nine-inning games,” Tolosky said. “There’s a big difference between seven and nine innings.
“Defensively, we have been strong pretty much all season. Our outfield has been solid.”
The concern earlier in the season was getting enough offensive production.
“Our hitters have started to become more consistent,” Tolosky said. “I’m looking for a big weekend.”
Tolosky has a 14-player roster at his disposal and won’t hesitate to use anyone at any time.
“I won’t be hesitant to put people in,” he said. “All 14 players have contributed to the team’s success at different points this season.”
The Mariners’ roster includes Chris Roenbeck, Logan Recor, Jack Tolosky, Robby Knowles, Kasey Favreau, Tanner Rascoe, Mitchell Cunningham, Brandon Rabideau, Adam Goldfarb, Jeremy Barber, Ryan Meyer, Conor Casey, Marcus Lefebvre and Jake Richards.
Junior Mariners in Districts
The Clinton County Junior Mariners take a 19-4 overall record into this weekend when they host the Lake Placid-based Post 326 Adirondacks at Lefty Wilson Field for the District IV title.
The two teams will play tonight at 6 p.m. and on Saturday at noon. If a third game is needed in the best-of-three series, it will follow Saturday’s contest.
“We’ve played well most of the season,” Mariners coach Gary Duquette said. “To win 19 games, you have to be a good team. I feel we have a heck of a ballclub, and I’m confident we will do well every weekend.
“We did play poorly in three of the four games we lost. We played well in the (1-0) loss to Saratoga — we just didn’t hit well enough that game.”
The Mariners and Adirondacks met once this season, and Clinton County won the game 8-4.
“They played us pretty tough the first time,” Duquette said. “They definitely don’t give up in games. They’re young and are an up-and-coming team.
“We’re going to go right at them. We have Andy Kneussle, Quenton Barber and Brandon Buksa ready on the mound. Our pitching has been great all year.”
The Mariners could be at full strength this weekend. Blake Altizer and Nate Stanton have been nursing injuries but may have limited roles against the Adirondacks.
Tristan Archambault, Zach Bingel, Shawn Courson, Dan Hartman, Caleb Keysor, Brantley Marion, Mickey Pepper, Gerrit Rietsema and Ryan Whalen round out the 14-player roster for the Mariners.
“We have 14 excellent players,” Duquette said.
If the Mariners prevail this weekend, they will advance to a zone tournament next weekend.