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Mariner overcomes Lely, 7-2, in opening round of Class 6A state baseball playoffs

Tritons to will face Island Coast Gators — again — Saturday

May 16, 2019
By PETE SISK (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It's not all that hard to get into trouble in baseball. The trick is getting out of it.

Both Lely and Mariner had plenty of runners on base Wednesday night, but it was the Tritons who came up with the big hits.

As a result, the Tritons (24-4) took a 7-2 win against the Trojans (23-7) in the opening round of the state Class 6A playoffs at Mariner High.

Article Photos

MICHAEL PISTELLA / mpistella@breezenewspapers.com

Mariner junior Alex Freeland (10) greets teammates after his two-run homer to put the Tritons up 4-2, a lead they would not relinquish, on their way to a 7-2 regional quarterfinal win over Lely Wednesday night. To view more photos from the game, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page

"That's a good game. It's a playoff win," Mariner coach Tom Woodley said. "I mean, you're not going to blow anybody out in the playoffs.

"They came out, did what they had to do. They put the ball in play. We had to play some baseball.

"Nothing was going to be given to us."

In the process, the Tritons earned home field for the Region 6A-3 semifinals -- thanks in large part to Island Coast taking down Barron Collier, 7-4, down in Naples on Wednesday.

The Gators and Tritons will square off at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mariner.

Had Barron Collier won, Mariner would have had to make the bus ride down to Naples on Saturday.

Lely jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, loading the bases before Eric Carney's two-RBI single.

After that, the night was one situation after another where Mariner pitchers Jimmy Meredith and Lou Alberro managed to wriggle off the hook after allowing base runners.

Lely stranded eight runners in the first four innings alone, and 11 for the game. Alberro's 1-2-3 fifth inning was the only one in which the Trojans didn't leave at least two runners on base.

Mariner found itself in similar situations more often than not. The Tritons got one run back in the bottom of the first, but left the bases loaded. Runners were left stranded in scoring position in four other innings.

"That's what I told the guys," Woodley said. "I know we left a lot of runners on base. We need to do better with that if we're going to move on. Saturday especially."

But when they needed it, the Tritons got the big hit.

After Meredith's sacrifice fly tied the game at 2 in the second inning, Alex Freeland deposited a two-run homer over the right-field fence.

Mariner would not trail again, although there was no room for error until the sixth inning.

In the fifth, the Tritons loaded the bases with nobody out. Lely coach Greg Dombrowski lifted starter Angel Palacios in favor of Ryan Witthoff. He induced a double-play grounder as Alberro scored from third, but that was all Mariner would get.

Finally, in the sixth, Alberro broke the game open. With the bases loaded and one out, the senior ripped a double into the right-center-field gap, driving in two runs. While the Tritons wound up leaving two more runners on base, the lead was five with one inning to go.

"We had some good at-bats at times," Woodley said. "We get a batter with a 2-1 count or a 3-1 count, and we don't square a ball up. It wasn't our best night at the plate, but it was good enough."

Lely still didn't go quietly, getting runners on the corners before Alberro induced a popup to end the game.

Alberro reached base three times, with two walks and that two-run double, and scored a run. On the mound, he worked the final four innings to be the winning pitcher for the Tritons.

Meredith battled his way through the first three innings, stranding six Trojans after allowing those first two runs. He also walked and and scored twice, and had the sacrifice fly that squared the score at 2.

"Jimmy competed. He didn't have his best stuff," Woodley said. "Lou did a good job coming in, pounding the zone. That's all we could ask from these guys."

Freeland was on base all four times up. He was hit by a pitch in the first, clubbed his two-run homer in the second, and walked in his other two plate appearances. His second turned into one of the runs driven in by Alberro in the sixth.

Anthony Bautista had three singles and a stolen base for Mariner.

Matthew Morales doubled and came home on Meredith's sac fly.

"From here on out, it's going to be dogfights," Woodley said. "It isn't going to be easy from here on out, so we'll see what happens. Hey, we live to play another day."

For Lely, Cameron Jones doubled twice and scored a run, and Guilliani Ramos was 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and a walk. Carson Chambers doubled and singled.

Island Coast 7, Barron Collier 4: The Gators and Cougars didn't play the prettiest of games. There were plenty of errors on both sides.

It didn't matter.

There are no style points in baseball.

Island Coast (20-8) advanced by beating the winners of District 6A-12, a 16-11 Barron Collier team that had Lely's number, but was mediocre (6-5) on its own field.

What mattered most was that the Gators overcame their mistakes, while the Cougars fell victim to theirs.

The game was a see-saw affair, going back and forth before the Gators took control in the top of the seventh. Kasey Ross and Milt Cuyler delivered the bit hits in Island Coast's winning rally.

Defensive woes nearly derailed the Gators. Five errors made Chase Chatman's night on the mound difficult. Still, after the Cougars tied the game at 4 in the sixth, he stranded two BC runners to keep the score even heading into the big Island Coast seventh.

Chatman wasn't completely blameless, committing one of the errors on a misfired pickoff attempt.

The same could be said of the Cougars, who made three errors in the top of the fifth inning as Island Coast took a 4-2 lead.

And not all of Chatman's pickoff moves failed. With the Gators trailing 2-1, Chatman picked off a runner to end a Barron Collier rally.

Island Coast led early 1-0 thanks in part to a Cougars' error, but BC tied it by scoring a run on a double play. The Gators fell behind 2-1 when a third strike got away, and the throw down to first base didn't get the runner.

Island Coast will get its fifth crack at Mariner on Saturday.

The Tritons won three of the first four, including the rain-shortened District 6A-11 championship, but the Gators did hand Mariner its only district loss this year.

 
 
 

 

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