COLUMBUS – The Columbus Mariners are heading into their high school careers on the highest note possible, after taking home a State Championship over the weekend.
14U Head Coach Chuck Fleeman said the group had a slow start at the State Tournament in Columbus, after dropping their first two games in pool play, making them the bottom seed. Fleeman says after their first two losses, the players turned things around in bracket play and eventually made it to the semifinals where they played the Omaha Royals.
“It’s a very good baseball team, and they’re one of the teams that beat us in pool play, so the kids were glad to get to face them. We beat them in extra innings in the semifinals, and then we played the Omaha Pacesetters, and they’re kind of the team in the state that sets the bar. It was something the kids talked about back in January, so facing them was the perfect ending,” says Fleeman.
The Columbus Mariners defeated the Pacesetters to claim the State Title, but this wasn’t the first tournament title, this dominant Columbus team had claimed during the season.
“This year we changed things up and decided we were going to travel and see if they could gain confidence by playing teams that they just didn’t know anything about. This season we entered 5 tournaments, 4 of them were out of state, and they won 4 out of the 5 tournaments,” says Fleeman.
Fleeman says he will miss coaching the kids he has worked with since they were 8-years-old.
“It’s been a long journey for the boys. We’ve been with them since they were 8-years-old. They’ve accomplished a lot of things throughout the years and this was kind of the culmination of their Mariner careers, so it was a great way to go out,” says Fleeman.