The Martinez-Evans Little League Marlins needed a major effort to win the minor-league tournament title, and the Marlins were up to the task.
After dropping a game in the recently completed tournament, the Marlins shrugged off the pressure and produced three dramatic wins to capture the crown.
"It was truly amazing," Marlins manager Marvin Hill said. "They came back from defeat, won three baseball games against two great teams, all in the span of 18 hours, to become champions."
The Marlins completed the regular season with an 11-1 record, thanks to several tense wins. The Marlins won two games in their final at-bat, and survived a few more close calls to earn a No. 1 seed for the postseason tournament.
Then came the season-ending, double-elimination event at Crawford Creek Baseball Complex, where the Marlins' mettle was really put to the test.
The Martinez-Evans Little League Marlins are Dylan Weeks (front row, from left), Alex Hill, Steven Price and Christian Lane; Anthony Perella (middle row, from left), Randy Watkins, James Waller, Craig Drouin, Kyle Fee, Andrew Davis, Nicholas Benette and Michael Gilmartin; coach Brian Drouin (back row, from left), manager Marvin Hill and coach Chuck Perella.
After two early victories, the Marlins were routed 14-2 by the Cardinals. That defeat moved the Marlins into a losers-bracket contest against the Mariners.
The Marlins raced to a 7-2 lead heading into the last inning, but the Mariners rallied for eight runs to go up 10-8. The Marlins, however, pushed three runs across the plate to stave off elimination.
That thrilling comeback forced a next-morning showdown with the Cardinals, but to claim the tournament title, the Marlins needed to sweep two games from the Cards.
The Mariners kept the momentum going the next morning and cruised to 16-10 and 13-9 wins.
"The whole team gave efforts above anything we as coaches could have expected," Hill said. "A team with no superstars, consisting of only hard-playing, well-mannered, good sportsman looking to do the best they can, proved themselves to be all-stars in every sense."
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