July 18th, 2013
By Mal Boright
With a shot at next week’s Vermont State Tournament at Castleton State College, the S. D. Ireland American Legion team is on a ripsnorter of a late season rally.
Tuesday’s 10-6 home triumph over visiting Orleans-Essex-Caledonia County was its third straight pressure thumbs-upper and followed Monday’s 9-3 win at Burlington. Last Saturday, the Green and Gold Guys went to South Burlington and thrashed the Denizens of Dorset Street 12-2.
“We are playing better,” said coach Jim Neidlinger of his 6-10 squad.
The Irelands could use a sweep of their five remaining games. They went back to Burlington Wednesday evening (after the Observer’s press deadline) before playing host to the Lynx Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
They then go to South Burlington for an 11 a.m. tilt Saturday and close out the regular season with a doubleheader Sunday starting at noon against OEC at Lyndon State College.
Montpelier, which occupies the fourth and final North Division tournament slot, lost 3-1 at Addison Tuesday.
The Irelands supported pitcher Kyle Stanley with a 13-hit attack Tuesday in knocking off the Kings. The right-hander worked into the seventh, allowing eight hits and just two earned runs while walking four and fanning four.
The Ireland rappers were led by big Davis Mikell, whose three hits and five RBIs included a line drive three-run circuit clout over the fence in right center. Will Conroy also bashed three safeties, one of those a two-out double in the first inning that rose high into the jet stream before landing untouched at deep short, completing a wind-blown ride that befuddled OEK defenders.
Ryan Fleming tripled and singled to go with a pair of walks. Catcher Hayden Smith doubled and singled in four trips.
Despite a suddenly sun-baked infield that produced more strange hops than a kangaroo farm, there were some awesome defensive plays including an OEC bases-loaded bunt attempt in the fourth inning. Smith dove and caught the pop up bunt and then alertly threw to third for a critical inning-ending double play.
Shortstop Hank Conroy made a diving and rolling stab of a sharp liner in the sixth while right fielder Larry Halvorson ran forever from a shift toward left to nab a foul fly near the right field restraining fence in the first inning.
Will Conroy stroked a bases-loaded double and single in the victory at Burlington. Lefty Erik Bergkvist tossed seven innings for the win.
At South Burlington, Fleming proved pitchers CAN hit. He worked the route and also went four-for-four, including a pair of doubles with the bat.