---- — CASTLETON, Vt. — For the first three innings Saturday, the Clinton County Senior Mariners hit the ball hard — but right at people.
That, however, changed in the fourth.
The Mariners busted loose big time for nine runs to erase a 2-0 deficit and rolled to a 14-4, seven-inning run rule victory over host Granville Post in the American Legion District IV Baseball Tournament.
The Mariners (20-8), reaching the 20-win mark for the season, improved their record 2-0 in the double-elimination event and into the finals where their opponent will need to beat them twice.
Malone Post and Granville play an elimination game today at 10 a.m., with the survivor advancing to the finals. If the Mariners win the following game, which starts at 1 p.m., Clinton County is the champion.
But American Legion rules state that no team can play three games in one day. So, if the Mariners lose, a deciding game would have to be played on Wednesday.
“We had to overcome some early adversity again (Saturday),”Mariners coach Matt Tolosky said . “But we were able to respond like a good team does.”
The Mariners rapped out five hits in the first two innings but weren’t able to cross the plate. Granville scored single runs off Mariners’ starter Kasey Favreau in the first and third innings for a 2-0 lead.
“We were hitting line drives all over the place,”Tolosky said . “I felt confident that we would eventually break through.”
That happened in the fourth when Clinton County erupted for seven hits. Ryan Meyer started it with an RBI single, followed by Marcus Lefebvre with a two-run triple, Jack Tolosky an RBI single, Jake Richards an RBI single, Favreau an RBI single, Tanner Rascoe a two-run double and Mitchell Cunningham an RBI double.
The Mariners then added three more in the fifth for a 12-2 advantage. Tolosky singled, Adam Goldfarb rapped a RBI double and Chris Roenbeck launched a two-run homer.
Granville got two of the runs back in the sixth when the Mariners made their only errors in the game.
But Clinton County ended the contest in the sixth when Tolosky and Brandon Rabideau both singled, moved up a base on Richards’ sacrifice bunt and scored on Favreau’s two-run double.
Tolosky had a huge game offensively as he went 5-for-5 to lead an 18-hit attack. He scored three runs and drove in one.
“Jack was the catalyst in the leadoff spot today,” Matt Tolosky said. “He did what a leadoff man is supposed to do — he was able to set the table.”
Goldfarb, Favreau, Cunningham and Lefebvre all added two hits each, with Favreau driving in three runs and Lefebvre, two. Rabideau, Richards, Roenbeck, Rascoe and Meyer added one hit apiece, with Roenbeck and Rascoe each driving in two.
“We’ve hit the ball well in both games down here and we’re getting a lot of players involved,” Tolosky said. “That’s the way we envisioned it when the season started.”
The standout on the mound for the Mariners on Saturday was Meyer, who got the game-winning hit the day before in an 8-7 , 10-inning win over Malone. Favreau went 2.1 innings and Meyer then went the final 4.2 innings to pick up the victory. He allowed four hits, walked one, struck out two and surrendered two unearned runs.
“Meyer was just what we needed,” Tolosky said. “Favreau hasn’t pitched much this season and he did what he could to help us. Ryan came in and was lights out.”
Jeff Johnson and Nick Burch led Granville with two hits each. The hosts had six hits in all.
The game began in Granville and was moved to 30 miles to Castleton State to be completed when heavy rain forced the contest to be suspended in the fifth inning.
Mariners 14, Granville 4 (7)
Granville 101 002 0 — 4 6 0
Mariners 000 930 2 — 14 18 3
Jameson, Mullins (4), Steele (4) and Sipowicz. Favreau, Meyer (3) and Roenbeck. WP- Meyer. LP- Mullins. 2B- Jeff Johnson (G), Goldfarb (M), Favreau (M), Rascoe (M), Cunningham (M). 3B- Lefebvre (M). HR- Roenbeck (M).