April 28, 2011By Mal Boright Observer correspondent
With its home field well watered and more rain on the way, Champlain Valley Union baseball coach Tim Albertson was looking forward to some blue skies on Tuesday and getting his team outdoors for a few practice sessions, not to mention games.
That afternoon’s scheduled home contest with Vergennes had been postponed due to wet conditions.
“We hope we can play tomorrow (Wednesday)” said Albertson with a doubtful look.
The coach noted that the team has been outside only seven times this rainy spring.
“And five of those were either games or scrimmages,” he added.
The forecast for Wednesday (makeup against Vergennes) and Thursday (at South Burlington) were mixed as of Tuesday night. Saturday’s outlook was much better with Mount Abraham scheduled to be at the Redhawks’ Hinesburg field for an 11 a.m. tilt.
Monday’s home loss (8-5) to Rice Memorial left the Redhawks with a 1-2 mark, coming on the heels of Friday’s 8-2 loss to Missisquoi Valley Union in Swanton.
But Monday’s encounter, played in a light but stubborn drizzle that caused difficult-to-grip baseballs, was a tight and tense duel for six innings before a whacky seventh allowed the veteran Green Knights to put it away.
It was a 2-2 deadlock going into the top of the seventh when the fates turned on CVU reliever Curt Echo After a leadoff walk, Zak Poland reached off a bunt down the first base line that Echo could not field properly. This brought up the Knights’ No. 3 batter Chris McCormick, who immediately pounded the ball over the fence in right center for a 5-2 Rice lead.
The Knights added three more runs off reliever Tucker Kohlasch on a package of three singles, a throwing error, two fielder’s choices and a walk.
CVU got three runs in the bottom of the seventh. John Keen drove home two with a solid double down the right field line.
Poland, a southpaw with some heat, whiffed seven and gave up just one run in the fourth before pinch hitter Ian Solomon’s double to deep right center, Justin McKenzie’s walk, and Ryan Machavern’s RBI single chased him in the sixth. McKenzie eventually scored to the tie the game at 2-2 when Jeff Badger reached on an infield throwing error.
Drew Nick started for the Hawks and allowed two runs, four hits and struck out five, before giving way to Echo in the fifth. Echo masterfully escaped a two-on, no-out situation when he entered the game with two strikeouts and a pick off. Rice was clinging to a 2-1 lead at the time.
Rice’s Evan Healy, a righty, took over for Poland in the sixth and got the win.
In the loss at Missisquoi, Thunderbirds’ pitcher Turner Ede went the distance. Kohlasch smashed a triple and double with an RBI for CVU. Nick rapped his second double in two games, and Keen produced a run-scoring single.