By Mal Boright
The situation looked mighty grim Tuesday before the third-seeded Champlain Valley Union High baseball team rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh frame to score a 5-4 victory over visiting 14th seeded Middlebury Union.
Next up for coach Tim Albertson and his defending Division 1 champion 13-4 Redhawks will be a home quarterfinal contest Friday afternoon against sixth-seeded Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans—2012 runners-up—which blanked 11th-seeded Burlington High 5-0 Tuesday.
CVU’s winning hit was delivered by senior Brad Bissonette, who launched a looping single down the left field line for his third safety to score Kirk Fontana from third and give CVU its only lead of the day.
“I was looking for a fast ball,” said Bissonette, who cracked a double in a game late last week for his first varsity bingle.
“Coach put me in the lineup today and I’m glad I was able to come through,” said the lefty sweet swinger. Bissonette also socked a triple and single, driving in two runs.
“We thought he could help us toward the end of the year,” said Albertson, noting the work put in by the senior.
Middlebury (3-13) led from the second inning after snapping a 1-1 tie with three tallies in the top of the second, keyed by a single and three walks.
Albertson called on reliever Kyle Stanley with CVU down 2-1 and the bases loaded with Tigers and no outs. Taylor Patterson unloaded a double on Stanley’s third pitch that drove in two runs and put the visitors up 4-1.
For Middlebury’s offense, that dood it. Stanley took charge, getting out of the inning with a pop-up and a pair of whiffs. The junior right-hander then retired 13 of the next 15 batters, two reaching on infield miscues. In one stretch, he retired seven straight on infield grounders.
Big Davis Mikell retired the final two batters on a grounder and strikeout to get the victory.
CVU batters slugged 13 hits but left eight runners stranded and also lost two on the bases and another for interference with the Middlebury catcher.
The Redhawks drew to within 4-3 with two runs in the bottom of the fifth on singles by Mikell and Fontana (three-for-three), Rayne Supple’s RBI ground out and Bissonette’s loud triple to deep center.
The Tigers’ pitcher Tyler Provencher got out of the sixth without further damage when a CVU suicide squeeze went askew, leading to a double play, but Mikell stroked his second single and Fontana got plunked by a pitch to lead off the seventh and final raps.
Dylan Ireland sacrificed to advance the runners to second and third. Supple’s sacrifice fly to left scored Mikell to tie matters before the Bissonette winning blast.