By Mal Boright
With Davis Mikell, Deagan Poland and Hayden Smith in key roles, former Champlain Valley Union High baseball stars helped the Essex American Legion baseball team capture the state title Tuesday at Castleton State College.
Essex, with one loss going into the final day of the double elimination tournament, needed to defeat Addison County twice to claim the crown.
Mikell hurled a three-hit 14-strikeout effort in a 5-3 opening victory. The big righthander then came on in relief for a one-two-three, two-strikeout closing job in the ninth as Essex scored a 3-2 triumph in the second game.
Poland socked a double in the first game and an RBI single in the second.
Mikell on Friday fired a three-hit 3-0 win over Brattleboro while whiffing 13 batters.
The Essex team will advance to the New England Regional Tournament starting Aug. 7 in Middletown, Conn.
Mikell and Poland were named to the All-Tournament team.
The CVU players joined Essex after the S.D. Ireland unit was dissolved prior to the start of the season due to low numbers for tryouts.