By Mal Boright
While coach Tim Albertson’s under-17-years-old Vermont Outlaws baseball team may respect their elders, they are hoping to rack up a few victories over them this week in the annual Coopers Cave Tournament at Saratoga, N.Y.
The action for the Outlaws began Wednesday with a twin bill. Vermont was slated to meet Portsmouth, R.I. in a 9 a.m. eye-opener and then take on Granville, N.Y. at noon.
Thursday foes are Shrub Oak, N.Y. at noon and Kingston, N.Y. at 5:30 p.m.
They will then meet the Saratoga, N.Y. Legion team under the lights (8 p.m.) Friday and be available for a single elimination tournament contest Friday if qualified according to the record over the three days.
With mostly Legion aggregations in the multi-state event, Albertson has kicked the competition up a notch. Legion teams have players up to their 19th birthday, some with college experience.
“I try to make a schedule that allows players to see what the next level looks like and provide them with opportunities to see better competition,” he told the Observer by email.
The Outlaws return to their home field at Rice Memorial High Sunday for a double header with St. Johnsbury, starting at noon. A trip to Colchester for a twin bill Monday (3:30 p.m. start) will be followed by a single home game Tuesday at Rice with first pitch at 5:30 p.m.
Now 6-9-1, the Outlaws started the week last Tuesday with a 10-2 victory over the Vermont Jays in St. Albans. Following postponements Wednesday and Thursday, they dropped two double headers with Legion teams, Saturday at Granville, N.Y. and Sunday at Rutland.
In the win over the Jays, Jack Dugan had the hot stick, going four-for-five including a double, scoring three runs and driving home two. Dan Poodiack clubbed a double and single and drove in two runs while Andrew Bortnick got three ribbies with a two-bagger and sacrifice fly. Jordan Bell earned the pitching win in relief.
Granville’s Legion bopped the Outlaws, 3-2 and 8-5. The narrow first game featured a solid pitching job by Bortnick, who allowed just one earned run and fanned eight. Riley Fitzgerald swatted a homer and Poodiack singled, walked twice and tallied once.
In the nightcap, Patrick McHugh had two hits and scored two runs.
The Outlaws got more effective hurling Sunday at Rutland in 3-1 and 2-1 losses, the second game going 10 innings.
In the opener, Fitzgerald got zinged by three unearned runs while striking out six. His sacrifice fly accounted for the Outlaws run. Dugan whacked a pair of hits and swiped two bases.
Sam Mikell pitched nine innings and struck out 10 batters in the second game with a Fitzgerald triple producing the lone Outlaws score.