By Mal Boright
Pitching, fielding and a timely big bop earned the Champlain Valley Union High baseball team a big step toward the top seed in the upcoming Div. 1 playoffs.
After putting away a 3-0 home victory over now 12-3 Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans, Coach Tim Albertson and his 13-1 Redhawks had a Thursday session at 9-4 (entering the week) Colchester High and a Friday makeup at Middlebury Union remaining in the regular season.
Tuesday’s pitching came from senior Curt Echo, who quieted BFA bats with a five-hit zip job, throwing an exceptionally efficient 67 pitches in a complete game masterpiece.
“Curt pitched very well,” said Albertson of the right-hander, one of 11 seniors honored in the regular season’s final home game.
“We knew they (BFA) liked to swing early, so we had that in mind,” said Echo, who mixed pitches and locations well. He was on the plate, getting to a three-ball count only once, while walking none and whiffing five.
The fielding was solid, with two meaningless miscues. Shortstop Drew Nick best lived up to the description of a fine infielder: “He plays well in the dirt.” Nick played very well in the dirt, with four assists, two putouts and the start of a key double play.
The major smash with the bat came from The Big Deep, first baseman Davis Mikell, who crushed a 1-1 pitch over the fence in the right field corner in the bottom of the first inning, after Tucker Kohlasch started proceedings with a single and scored on a wild pitch.
It was Mikell’s second deep, deep shot of the week. He unloaded a grand slam jolt in the bottom of the first inning on visiting South Burlington High on Thursday, helping the Redhawks to a 12-3 victory.
BFA’s righty starter Darren Callen held the ‘Hawks to but four hits and fanned nine while throwing 99 pitches in a solid performance. CVU’s third run came in the bottom of the sixth. Tim Jones led off with a single down the left field line, went to second as Nick walked, took third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch.
On Saturday, junior Dylan Ireland picked up his second win of the campaign, going six innings in a 4-1 triumph at Milton High. Ireland allowed but three hits, while Kohlash produced the big blow, a two-run double.
Nick got the pitching win Friday, with relief help from Ryan Fleming and Mikell in a 7-3 home victory over Missisquoi Valley Union High. Kohlasch unloaded a big three-run triple, while Jeff Badger socked an RBI three-bagger and Fleming a double.