By Marc Tobias
COLUMBUS -- The Mariners' Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League baseball tournament ended much like it began, with a plethora of defensive miscues.
Grand Lake fell Wednesday afternoon with an 8-3 loss to Columbus, and for the second time in the tourney errors cost them a chance at defeating the All-Americans, as six errors led to four unearned runs.
"When you have six errors it's hard to win a game," said Grand Lake skipper Mike Stafford. "Defensively we played like we did two days ago and it's hard to win a game especially against a good team like Columbus. We gave them six errors and they took advantage by scoring some runs and we couldn't catch up offensively.
"The two games we lost against Columbus I think we had 10 errors, obviously if you can erase 10 errors it could be a different ball game. If we take care of the baseball it could be a one-run game," Stafford added.
Columbus led 3-1 after three innings of play, but the Mariners were able to cut the deficit to one run when a Billy Grace sacrifice fly plated Dusty Hammond in the fifth inning. The All-Americans tacked on insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings, when Matt Owens plated Kurt Kapferer on a sac-fly and Matt Repec drove home Jay Gajewski with an RBI single.
Columbus added three more runs over the last two innings for the five-run win.
Grand Lake did have one excellent chance to get back in the game, when it had a bases loaded situation with no outs in the seventh inning.
Columbus called upon Trey Fausnaugh to thwart the Mariners rally, and he did just that by forcing a groundout, popout and a strikeout to get out of the jam without allowing a run. Fausnaugh then finished the final two innings in near perfect style.
"We've had faith in Trey all year long, and knew what kind of pitcher he was," said Columbus assistant coach Jay Stoner. "He goes right after guys, he doesn't fool around and he's right around the plate all the time and has complete belief that he can get the job done."
Former Mariner and now All-American Jake Frank led Columbus with a 3-for-5 performance with two runs scored while Repec went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Dusty Hammond had the best day at the plate for Grand Lake as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI.
Grand Lake's John Franzese hit the game's only home run when he led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo shot.
Grand Lake finishes the year at 23-18 while Columbus improves to 24-13 and now plays Lima in the championship game. Lima will have to beat Columbus twice in order to claim the GLSCL playoff title.
‹Wayne gave me an opportunity to come here and be the manager and we had a pretty good run,Š Stafford said. ‹I think we put Grand Lake on the map again, this is going to be a team that competes for a championship every year and I will be coming back next year and I‰ll be on the phone in the next couple weeks to try and create a roster. I think we made a statement that Grand Lake won‰t be taken likely anymore and team‰s need to respect us.Š