Mariners in perfect harmony at Harp tournament
Mission Valley go 4-0 to win Kalispell tournament and now have won 10 of their last 11 games
KALISPELL — The Mariners used solid pitching to string together four straight victories to win the John R. Harp Memorial Tournament and keep their hot streak going.
The tournament in Kalispell over the weekend was the second tournament in a row where the Mariners went undefeated. With the four victories, the Mariners have now won 10 out of their last 11 games, and with the district tournament just a week away, seem to be hitting their stride at the perfect time.
“We’re getting some great pitching. Our pitching has really stepped up and we’ve played pretty solid defensively and that’s really been key,” Mission Valley assistant coach Joe Locke said of the reason for the Mariners’ tear. “We’ve held teams down; they don’t score a lot of runs on us.”
In Kalispell, the Mariner starting pitchers went the distance in all but one game and had an ERA of 3.52 in 23 innings. Derrick Rathe struck out eight hitters and allowed five hits in a 14-4 five-inning victory over the Strathmore Reds to open the tournament Friday. Xavier Morigeau recovered from a shaky start and went all six innings in a 7-5 victory against Mt. Spokane High early Saturday morning. In the nightcap Saturday, Justin Evertz struck out four and scattered seven hits in seven innings to give his team a chance for a 4-3 come-from-behind win over Anacortes. In a 10-5 win against Vauxhall in the championship game, Justin Evans gave up two runs in four innings before being relieved by Josh Rustad. Rustad gave up three runs in three innings of work to pick up the win.
The Mariners pitching staff got plenty of run support at the 10-team tournament. The Mariners banged out 39 hits in just 24 innings and batted .355 to boost their team average to a season-high .331.
“Our offense is coming. I don’t think it’s peaked yet,” Locke said. “We’re getting some key hits when we need them, especially in the late innings and that’s helped us win some ball games.”
The Mariners got some key hits in the seventh inning for a comeback win against Anacortes. Trailing 3-1, Rathe led off the bottom of the seventh with a single for his only hit of the game. Rathe later scored on a passed ball. Evertz, who went 4 for 9 with seven RBIs at the tournament, followed with a double in his only plate appearance of the game. Mariner second baseman Kaileb Gillingham drove in Evertz on a fielder’s choice to the shortstop for the second out of the inning. Justin Evans, who reached via a walk, scored the game-winning run on an error by an Anacortes outfielder on a ball hit by third baseman Tyler Linse.
Anacortes had only given up two runs in three games at the tournament prior to the Mariners’ three-run outburst in the seventh. Last week at the Firecracker tournament, the Mariners scored four runs in the seventh against Libby to send the game into extra innings, where they prevailed 6-5.
“That shows a lot of character. It really does and those are games that are really going to help us at the district tournament, to know that we can come back and win those games,” Locke said.
The Mariners' only run prior to the seventh inning came on a solo home run by Tim Rausch in the sixth. It was the Western Oregon University-bound catcher’s second home run of the tournament — he hit a shotgun blast over the right field fence in a six-run inning against the Reds in the tournament opener.
Rausch went 6 for 9 at the tournament, scored six runs and drove in three runs. He was a perfect 3 for 3 and scored three runs in the 10-5 victory against the Spurs in the championship, a game where he also picked off three Spur baserunners.
The Mariners trailed Vauxhall 5-3 before scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Mariners only had two hits in the five-run rally, but capitalized on two Spur errors, two base on balls and one hit by pitch. Both of the Mariners' hits in the inning came off Rathe’s bat.
Rathe, who score two of the Mariner’s run in the inning, led off the inning with a single and also had a RBI single. Evertz drew a bases-loaded walk and Rustad was hit by a pitch when the bags were full.
In the opening game, the Mariners spotted the Reds four runs before their offense came alive in the third inning. The Mariners scored four runs in the third to tie the game and put the game away with a six-run fourth inning. The Mariners six-run rally was highlighted by Matt Detwiler’s three run home run and Rausch’s solo shot. Second baseman Kaileb Gillingham also had a RBI double in the inning.
Eight of the nine Mariner starters had a hit in the game. Linse went 3 for 4 at the plate and almost joined the home run party with a line drive double of the right-center field fence in the Mariners’ four-run fifth inning. It was one of three Mariner doubles in the inning. Evertz drove in Linse and Morigeau with a double and came around to score on a Detwiler single. Center fielder Cory Hardy cut the game short because of the 10-run rule by driving in Detwiler with a double.
Against Mt. Spokane, Morigeau gave up four runs in the first two innings before settling down and only giving up one run in the final four innings. Morigeau struck out seven, walked five and gave up five hits for the win.
The Mariners scored three runs with a two-out rally in the first, which was started with an Evans single. Evertz had an RBI double and Kyle Bagnell had an RBI single in the inning.
Outfielder Chris Alfiero sparked a four-run Mariner rally in the second with a RBI triple. Alfiero scored on Gillingham single. Gillingham, who had a hit in every game at the tournament, scored when Kyle Bagnell hit into a fielder’s choice for his second RBI of the game. Linse also scored on a fielder’s choice.
The Mariners wrapped up the regular season with four conference games. They travel to Missoula for a doubleheader against the Mavs Wednesday and then host the Bitterroot Bucs for another doubleheader Friday. The first seven-inning game starts at 4 p.m. The Mariners are 35-14 with a 10-2 conference record. The four final conference games could determine the seeding at the district tournament starting in Hamilton July 22. The Mariners are currently the number one seed.
2010 John R. Harp Memorial Tournament
Kalispell, Mont., July 9-11
Mission Valley 14, Strathmore 4
Strathmore 2 0 2 0 0–4 4 3
Mission V. 0 0 4 6 4–14 15 3
Dillon Casebeer, Cody Bangen (5) and Dillon Vail-Paris. Derrick Rathe and Tim Rausch. W - Rathe. L - Casebeer.
MISSION VALLEY - Kaileb Gillingham 1-4, Tyler Linse 3-4, Tim Rausch 2-3, Xavier Morigeau 1-1, Justin Evertz 1-3, Justin Evans 0-3, Matt Detwiler 3-4, Kyle Bagnell 2-4, Cory Hardy 1-3.
Mission Valley 7, Mt. Spokane 5
Mt. Spokane 3 1 0 0 0 1–5 5 1
Mission V. 3 4 0 0 0 0–7 6 2
Corbin Walker and Nate Spurbeck. Xavier Morigeau and Kaileb Gillingham. W - Morigeau. L -Walker.
MISSION VALLEY - Kaileb Gillingham 1-4, Tyler Linse 1-3, Justin Evans 1-3, Matt Detwiler 1-3, Justin Evertz 1-3, Kyle Bagnell 1-3, Derrick Rathe 0-3, Will Wallace 1-2, Chris Alfiero 1-1.
Mission Valley 4, Anacortes 3
Anacortes 0 1 0 0 0 1 1–3 7 2
Mission V. 0 0 0 0 0 1 3–4 7 0
Cory Campbell and Mark Medaha. Justin Evertz and Tim Rausch.
W - Evertz. L - Campbell.
MISSION VALLEY - Kaileb Gillingham 2-4, Tyler Linse 0-4, Tim Rausch 1-3, Matt Detwiler 1-3, Xavier Morigeau 1-3, Kyle Bagnell 1-2, Justin Evertz 1-1, Cory Hardy 0-2, Justin Evans 0-3.
Mission Valley 10, Vauxhall 5
Vauxhall 0 2 0 0 3 0 0–5 10 3
Mission V. 1 0 1 1 5 2 –10 12 0
Colby Ryan, Victor Caruso (5) and Colyn Cleland. Justin Evans, Josh Rustad (5) and Tim Rausch. W - Rustad. L - Ryan.
MISSION VALLEY - Kaileb Gillingham 1-4, Tyler Linse 1-3, Tim Rausch 3-3, Xavier Morigeau 1-3, Justin Evertz 1-2, Matt Detwiler 0-4, Derrick Rathe 2-4, Justin Evans 1-1, Josh Rustad 0-0.