Armadillos fall to Colchester (Sept. 4, 2008)

Defensive lapses doom Dillos

Sept. 4, 2008

The Williston Armadillos squared off against the Colchester Lakers on Wednesday, Aug. 27, for their final regular season game in the Vermont Senior Baseball League. While the game was closely played until the eighth inning, with Colchester holding a 3-2 lead, the Dillos committed several defensive errors in that inning and failed to record outs on several plays which should have been putouts, allowing Colchester to score five times and turn a slim, one run lead into a commanding six run margin.

 


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Williston Armadillos ace Bill Supple throws a pitch during last week’s home game against Colchester.  

In the end, Colchester prevailed 12-4, dropping the Dillos into fifth place with an 11-4 record and depriving the Williston team of home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Consequently, in the Sept. 5 opening round of the playoffs, the Dillos will travel to Waterbury to play the 12-4 Warthogs, who the Dillos beat 8-2 in August.

In the single elimination tournament, the top eight teams of the 22 team league square off against one another for the league championship. The Armadillos are the incumbent league champions, having beaten the Barre Brewers in the finals last year.

The Dillos’ offense collected just eight hits against the Lakers, all by the first four batters in the lineup. Thus, pitcher Bill Supple (2-4, run), shortstop Greg Bolger (3-4, 2B, 2 runs, RBI), third baseman Pat Martin (2-4, RBI), and center fielder Ray Danis (1-4) provided all the firepower the Dillos could muster.

On the mound, Supple took the loss, pitching the first seven innings and giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on just five hits and five walks. Supple was relieved by Ken Freeman, who pitched the last two innings, giving up eight runs on eight hits and one walk.

Colchester took a 1-0 lead in the fourth without getting a hit. After the Lakers collected two walks, second baseman Darby Crum charged a slow grounder but flipped wide of first for an error, allowing the runner on second to score. The Dillos tied the score in the bottom of the inning when Danis bunted for a single and Supple and Martin singled.

In the sixth, Colchester scored twice after piecing together three singles and a walk to make the score 3-1.

In the seventh, the Dillos cut the lead to 3-2 and, but for a putout at home, would have tied the game. Supple reached on an error and Bolger followed with a double. Danis, who was running for Supple, was gunned down at home as he tried to score from first on the play. Martin then singled to score Bolger.

“The put out at home was my fault as the third base coach,” said player/manager Dennis Johnson. “With no one out, I should have held him. He would have scored on Martin’s single. But I was looking to turn the momentum our way.”

In the eighth, however, the bottom fell out for the Dillos. Several bloop hits, one of which the infield watched, a failure to cover first on a sacrifice bunt, a dropped throw to second on what should have been an out and a flubbed grounder, as well as several hard hit singles and a walk, led to five Colchester runs. Not satisfied, the Lakers added four insurance runs in the ninth as they rapped out two singles and two doubles.

The Dillos reduced the gap by two runs in the ninth as catcher/outfielder Billy Daw (0-2, BB) walked, Supple singled and Bolger singled. While Supple was forced out at second, Bolger scored when the outfield attempted to throw him out at second, but threw wide of the bag. As the ball rolled to third and no one was there, Bolger raced all the way home.

“It’s a three game season now. Three wins in a row gets you the league trophy,” said Bolger.