Mariners split home doubleheader, head to district playoffs
POLSON – On Saturday afternoon at Polson’s O’Malley Park, the 2020 American Legion Baseball League regular season came to a close for the Mission Valley Mariners with a doubleheader split against the visiting Western Conference A leading Glacier Twins.
The final score in the first game was 13-9 with the Twins on top. The Mariners responded with a win in the second game, 6-5.
During the first game, after a scoreless first inning by both teams, the Twins put points on the scoreboard by scoring two runs each in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to jump out to an 8-0 lead over the Mariners.
In the sixth inning, despite the Twins adding another run to take a 9-0 advantage, the Mariners exploded in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring seven runs on six hits to pull within two points of Glacier.
The Twins were up 9-7 going into the seventh inning and batters added four more points in the seventh. The Mariners tacked on two more runs in a 13-9 final score. Xavier Fisher led the Mariners at the plate going 3-for-4 with three singles and two RBIs. Keyan Dalbey had two RBIs off a sixth-inning triple.
The Mariners used three pitchers during the game. James Bennett faced 17 Glacier batters and gave up four runs on four hits and walked three. Ethan McCauley faced 14 batters and gave up four runs on five hits and a walk. Trevor Lake struck out one and walked four of the 14 batters he faced and gave up four runs on three hits.
In game two, Mission Valley scored two runs each in the second, fourth and fifth innings to take a 6-0 lead. The Twins cut the Mariner lead to 6-5 after a five-run scoring barrage in the top of the sixth inning.
The Mariners held the Twins scoreless in the top of the seventh inning to come away with a 6-5 victory.
Leading at the plate for the Mariners, Dawson Dumont went 2-for-4 with a single, double and an RBI. Mariner Alex Muzquiz had two RBIs on a double.
On the mound, Mariner Dylan Davis struck out three in five innings and walked one batter. Eric Dolence finished his senior career for the Mariners on the hill pitching to nine batters in two innings, striking out one and walking none.
The Mariners finished the regular season with an 18-13 overall record and 10-8 in conference play. Dolence is the only senior who departs the program.
“I thought the boys played well defensively,” said Mariner skipper Brad Fisher of his team’s performance all season. “I was hoping our batting would be better. We had too many strike-outs.”
Looking forward to the postseason, Fisher explained his team’s future success will rely on his pitching staff. “Lately, our pitching has been improving and that is going to play a huge role in whether or not we have success at districts,” he said.
Another key factor for the Mariners will be hitting. “Our focus will be at the plate and hitting,” said Fisher. “We plan on getting the tee out and getting lots of hacks.”
Defending 2019 Western A District Champions, the Mariners will be back out on the diamond July 29 to Aug. 2 as the number three seed during the district tournament in Florence. “It should be a fun tournament because anybody could win,” said Fisher.