June 2, 2011By Mal Boright Observer correspondent
With Tuesday’s 5-3 victory over Harwood – landing them in the Division I baseball playoff quarterfinals – coach Tim Albertson and his Champlain Valley Union Redhawks look forward to Friday afternoon’s (4:30 p.m.) visit to Colchester and the top-seeded 15-1 Lakers.
Colchester played its way into the second round on Tuesday with a 7-1 home clocking of No. 16 Spaulding.
Albertson and his jolly crew have been recent visitors to the Lakers’ domain. They were there Saturday for the final game of the regular season, but rains halted that contest with the teams tied at 5 after three innings.
On Tuesday, stout pitching by starter Curt Echo and closer Davis Mikell, along with timely hitting and base running, were key ingredients in the victory over ninth-seeded Harwood (10-4).
Echo worked five innings and faced two batters in the top of the sixth before giving way to Mikell, who registered the final six outs, two via the whiff route. Echo allowed five hits and all three Highlander runs, two of them earned. He fanned six, walked none and hit a batter.
After Harwood’s first two boppers in the game, however, the outlook for CVU appeared grim.
Leading off, senior co-captain Tyler Hoare smashed Echo’s third pitch over the fence in left center for a very quick 1-0 lead. Miles Burr, the second batter, lashed a rocket into right center for a single.
Whoa! Who dressed the New York Yankees in Harwood uniforms?
As for Echo?
“I just wanted to settle things down,” the right-hander later said of the rude greeting.
And settle things down he did, getting 15 of the next 17 Harwood swingers, six of them on strikeouts. As usual, he found his spots and painted the corners of the plate.
Echo got picked up by Mikell in the top of the sixth after hitting leadoff batter Burr with a pitch and then surrendering a two-base blast to deep right center to Chris Mehuron.
Burr scored on the double, and Mehuron later came in on a sacrifice fly.
Hoare went the distance on the hill for Harwood and pitched well, holding CVU to six hits and five earned runs. He struck out six.
Tucker Kohlasch led the Redhawk swatters with a single and a two-run double. The CVU junior has been rapping so well lately that a major recording contract could be headed his way.
Kohlasch’s big knock came in the bottom of the second and drove in Tim Jones and Brendan Davitt. Davitt singled home Lawrence Halvorson (single) with the first run of the three-tally frame, which gave CVU the lead for good.
The Redhawks added two more runs in the third, aided by Hoare’s wild streak of two straight walks. A Mikell single and a costly infield throwing error brought in the tallies.