There’s no reason that a young team can’t be a resilient team as well.
The Brandon Marlins proved to be both on Tuesday at Andrews Field, recovering from blowing a five-run lead to beat the Brandon Cloverleafs 10-9 in Game 4 of the Manitoba Senior Baseball League final. The Marlins’ victory tied the best-of-seven series at two wins apiece, with Game 5 set for Thursday at Andrews Field at 7 p.m.
Ryan Duncan scored the winning run on an error with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"Absolutely, its a must-win in any case like that," said Pat Vandoorne, who went 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI for the Marlins. "You’re down 2-1 and you’ve got your home game and you’ve got a great pitcher on the mound, so you’ve got to win that game."
"Compared to the ’Leafs, we’re an inexperienced team," he continued. "We’re a young team and I think with that comes a big learning curve. We’ve got a lot of young guys who really have been stepping up."
The Cloverleafs jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, with a pair of runs in the first inning and Travis Jean’s solo homer in the second. The Marlins erased the deficit with three runs of their own in the third, including a two-run double by Duncan, then scored four runs in the fourth.
Down 8-3 after five, the Cloverleafs, who have won five of the last eight MSBL titles, showed their veteran grit by battling their way back into the game. They scored three runs in the seventh inning to make it 8-6; then, after the Marlins scored one in the bottom of the seventh, the Cloverleafs loaded the bases with no out in the ninth, eventually tying the score on Jean’s two-run double to deep centre field.
The Marlins responded by putting their first two batters on base in the bottom of the ninth as Duncan singled and Ty Webber walked. After Ryan Boguski popped out, Matt DeGagne hit into a potential double-play ball, but the throw to the first for the final out went wide and Duncan came racing in to score.
"As soon as I touched third, I just looked at first and saw that the ball was going past (Cloverleafs first baseman Matt) Gunning, so that’s always good to see rounding third," said Duncan, who was 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs. "It was a good game."
Paul Thompson and Bret Heselwood also had two hits apiece for the Marlins, with Heselwood going 2-for-4 with a triple, a run and two RBIs, while Thompson was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Jean finished 3-for-5 with a run and three RBIs for the Cloverleafs, falling a triple short of the cycle. Gunning, Derek Chapman and Casey Clark added two hits apiece, with Clark driving in four runs.
Duncan also earned the win on the mound, recording the final out after replacing Jeff Wiebe in the ninth. Marlin starter Sam McNeice lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing six runs — five earned.
Zach Steckler worked the first five innings for the Cloverleafs and gave up eight runs, with seven of them earned. Pearce McDonald took the loss despite limiting the Marlins to one earned run in the final four innings plus the deciding, unearned run.