---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Clinton County Junior Mariners are one win away from the District IV championship.
The Junior Mariners took advantage of some early walks and then had a big sixth inning as they beat the Post 326 Adirondacks 8-2 Friday in an American Legion baseball playoff game at Lefty Wilson Field.
The teams continue the best-of-three series at 2 p.m. today, and a third game will follow if necessary.
Post 326 pitcher Chris Clarke issued four walks in the first inning, and Clinton County took a 3-0 lead and then added another run in the bottom of the second.
“(Clarke) pitched a really good game; he just struggled the first couple innings finding the strike zone,” Junior Mariners coach Gary Duquette said. “He kept us off-balance all day with off-speed pitches. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that we really started to hit the ball.”
The teams had to wait out a 45-minute rain delay in the third inning. Then the Adirondacks, who are based in Lake Placid, pulled to within 4-1 in the fifth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Clinton County’s Blake Altizer reached on an error to load the bases, and then Dan Hartman hit a two-run double. The Junior Mariners totaled four runs in the inning.
Quenton Barber pitched four innings and earned the win, and Brandon Buksa relieved him.
“We ride our pitching, and our pitchers did well (Friday),” Duquette said. “And we got a couple of clutch hits.”
Offensively, Buksa had a hit, two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Clarke went the distance in the loss, allowing five hits. Kolby Pertak and Alex Brandes each hit a double for the Adirondacks.
Clinton County plans to continue relying on its pitching today.
“Andy Kneussle’s gonna go (today), and we’re going to count on him to hold down the Adirondacks’ offense,” Duquette said. “Hopefully we can scrounge up a few runs for him.”
Junior Mariners 8, Post 326 Adirondacks 2
Adirondacks 000 010 1 — 2 6 4
Mariners 310 004 x — 8 5 3
Clarke and Savage. Barber, Buksa (5) and Hartman. WP- Barber. LP- Clarke. 2B- Pertak (A), Brandes (A), Hartman (JM).