The Joe Smith Mariners claimed the American division of the Frank German League with a 13-10 win over the Via Christi Braves Tuesday evening at Wild Red Berry Field.

The Joe Smith Mariners claimed the American division of the Frank German League with a 13-10 win over the Via Christi Braves Tuesday evening at Wild Red Berry Field.

“That was a heck of a game,” Joe Smith manager Clayton Kent told his players after the game. “You guys showed me that you got better as baseball players as the year went on. Nobody gave up tonight.”

Kent awarded the game ball to left fielder Chase Johnson, who made a key defensive play in the bottom of the fifth. Braves leadoff batter Austin Lindsey roped a Tye Cicero pitch into shallow left and Johnson charged in to make a catch to deny the Braves of a crucial leadoff hit.

The game went back and forth, reflecting the fact both teams rank among the best of the Frank German League. The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, then the Mariners tied it up in the bottom of the second, sparked by consecutive doubles from Cicero and Deveron Duncan.

In the top of the third, the Mariners scored four runs on two hits and two errors to grab a 6-2 lead. Starting pitcher Chase Curtis and Dylan Prince had consecutive RBI singles in the midst of sloppy baseball, exacerbated for the Braves by the fact they played the game with only eight players.

Via Christi manager Dennis Lindsey gave his players a dugout pep talk as they prepared to bat in the bottom of the third.

“Don’t let it get you down,” Lindsey said. “Keep those heads up. We can get back in this game.”

The Braves certainly did get back in the game, responding with a six-run inning. Jake Dellasega singled in both at-bats, scoring one run after his leadoff single, then driving home two runs to give the Braves a 8-6 lead with his second one-base hit. Austin Lindsey plated a run with a 6-3 groundout.

The Mariners tied it up in the next frame, as Jhalani Long and Curtis walked and later scored. Long took advantage of his speed and Curtis scored on a two-base error on a Prince single. Then, the Braves took a one-run lead entering the final inning, 9-8.

Cicero helped spark a five-run Mariners inning, as he reached on a hit-by-pitch that left him a little dazed, stole second base and then hustled home on a RBI double by Duncan. Long doubled and then scored on a Tyler Brynds single, giving the Mariners a 13-9 lead.

Johnson’s catch helped fend off a hard-charging Braves team, which scored one run in the fifth on the hustle of Logan VanBecelaere and no more.

The Mariners end their regular season with a 9-3 record and wait for the postseason starting next week. The Braves fall to 7-4 and face the Knights of Columbus Cubs Thursday, closing out the Frank German regular season.

Frank German baseball
At Wild Red Berry Field
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Joe Smith Mariners 13, Via Christi Braves 10
Mariners    024 25 — 13 8 5
Braves    206 11 — 10 6 4
Chase Curtis, Jhalani Long (3), Tye Cicero (4) and Trevor Kent, Tyler Brynds (5). Austin Lindsey, Conner Smith (2), Lindsey (5) and Matthew Ridenhour. WP — Cicero. LP — Lindsey. 2B — Cicero, Deveron Duncan 2, Long; Lindsey. HBP — Cicero 2, Chase Johnson; Logan VanBecelaere. SB — Long 2, Cicero; Logan Lindsey, Jake Dellasega, VanBecelaere 2, Smith. LOB — Mariners 5, Braves 3.