April 21, 2014

Busy stretch ahead for Legion baseball

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By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

July 3, 2013

What’s a little rain when there is a baseball game to be won?

The S. D. Ireland American Legion diamond nine (3-6) snapped a two-game losing string Monday with a pitter patter-swept 8-4 victory over visiting South Burlington at the Champlain Valley Union High field.

Following an off day Tuesday, the Irelands are slated to play host to the Colchester Cannons Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. before heading to the Burlington High field on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Montpelier for a Saturday nooner.

Addison County and Colchester will visit the Irelands at CVU Sunday at noon and Monday at 5:30 p.m. On Tuesday, coach Jim Neidlinger’s outfit heads for Saratoga, N.Y. and a three-day regional tournament.

Primary ingredients in the win over South Burlington were heat from the mound as provided by big righthander Davis Mikell and thump with the bats from Will and Hank Conway.

Mikell allowed but two hits and struck out 11 in working the seven-inning rout. He walked five on a soggy day when control of pitches was a challenge.

One could recall the fifties hit song “Just A-Walking in The Rain.”

Two South Burlington pitchers gave up eight bases on balls, which helped fuel the Ireland’s offense to go with just five hits. Three of those blasts belonged to the rapping Conways. Center fielder Will slugged a two-run homer over the fence in center to cap a five-run second inning. He also crushed a double in the fourth.

Hank Conway bashed an RBI two-bagger in the bottom of the third. An alert Luke Russell scored a second run after scooting from first to third and then charging home on an overthrow of the plate. The tallies put the Irelands up 8-3 and in command the rest of the way.

The Green Guys’ other hits were a first inning vicious RBI single to left by Larry Halvorson and a double by Mikell.

South Burlington broke through on Mikell in the third when, after a pair of walks, Kevin Rollins slammed a homer over the fence in left center. Two walks and an RBI single in the seventh brought in the visitors’ fourth run.

The triumph took some sting from Saturday’s 10-0 home loss to Addison, which was called after five innings due to the mercy rule.

Addison righty Devin Hayes held the Irelands to three hits, all of the infield variety. Ryan Fleming collected two of the safeties. Wade Steele crashed a three-run round tripper for the victors.

Last Thursday, in a struggle that featured four homers, visiting Essex scored an 8-4 win.

Will Conroy rocketed a three-run first inning dinger and Fleming launched a solo shot in the third. Chris Wehner and Fran Poleo struck two-run homers for Essex.

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