LIBBY – The Mission Valley Mariners and Bitterroot Red Sox moved one win away from the Western A district championship game. The two legion clubs did it in very different ways on Friday.
The six-seed Mariners made a miracle, final-inning comeback to pull off their second consecutive upset, taking down defending state champ Glacier, 10-7. The top seeded Red Sox hammered hosting Libby, 10-2.
A day after taking down three-seed Kalispell Lakers, the Mariners looked destined to fall into the loser’s bracket. The number two-seed Twins led 7-1 heading to the seventh and final inning. Then, Mission Valley scored nine runs to come back and steal the victory. The Mariners opened the inning with three straight singles. Mission Valley also put runners on base on a walk, an error and a hit by pitch. After five runs scored and a couple strikeouts, the bases were loaded with two outs. A wild pitch allowed the Mariners to tie the game. James Bennett followed with a double, his third hit of the game, scoring two and giving Mission Valley the lead.
The Red Sox didn’t need as much drama to advance. The hosting Libby Loggers did score a pair of runs in the top of the second, but the five-seed couldn’t find another run against Bitterroot’s Dillon Pilkerton, who tossed a complete game. The Red Sox took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third on two walks with the bases loaded and an error. They scored three more runs in the fourth, one on an RBI double by Tristan Lewis. Bitterroot poured in four more runs in the sixth to finish off the 10-2 win. Lewis, Timothy Hickey and Tyler Davis each picked up a pair of hits.
Earlier in loser-out contests, the seven-seed Missoula Mavericks took out Kalispell, 3-2. Four-seed Cranbrook, British Columbia stayed alive by eliminating the eight-seed Bitterroot Bucs, 6-3.
On Saturday, Glacier takes on Cranbrook at 10:00 a.m. and Libby meets Missoula at 1:00 PM in two loser-out games. The Mariners and Red Sox collide at 4:00 a.m. for a spot in the championship. The winners of the first two games will play another loser-out contest at 7:00 a.m.