June 4, 2009
By Mal Boright
Coaches always are in the know when it comes to figuring out playoff pairings in the days before they are made official by the Vermont Principals’ Association.
Observer photo by Marisa Machanic
Jared Badger, captain of the Champlain Valley Union High baseball team, connects against Burlington High on Saturday.
“We’ll be going to Bennington to play Mount Anthony,” CVU pitching coach Onnie Matthews predicted Saturday, after the Redhawks lost 5-4 at South Burlington High despite taking a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
Sure enough, when the pairings for the Division 1 playoffs came out Tuesday, 13th-seeded CVU was scheduled to take its 4-12 record down the asphalt slab known as Route 7 to Bennington to meet the fourth-seeded, 12-4 Patriots on Wednesday afternoon. The game was set to be played after press deadline.
Winner of that tilt would be back in action Friday to play 12th-seeded Rice Memorial High, which upset fifth-seeded Bellows Free Academy on Tuesday by a 6-2 score in St. Albans.
Head coach Tim Albertson no doubt had all pitching arms available for the battle of Bennington.
Regular season wraps up
The Redhawks had a three-day respite after dropping a pair of games Saturday, falling 6-0 at Burlington High in the morning before the mid-afternoon completion of the road trip in South Burlington.
CVU’s bats failed in critical situations at Burlington, where the Redhawks were unable to manufacture any tallies despite socking seven hits and getting three walks. Konnor Fleming whacked a triple while Collin Teator and Theron Fuller each laced a pair of safeties in two trips.
The one that got away was the tussle with the Rebels, and for them it was an important victory that vaulted South Burlington to 10-6 and the eighth seed in the playoffs, over three other teams (Colchester High, Burlington High and Rice Memorial) with 9-7 records.
In the afternoon session, the Redhawks did get some clutch hits off South Burlington ace Ethan Martin. Martin fanned nine but was in line for a loss after CVU took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh, scoring a run after the first two batters had struck out.
Teator got it started, working Martin for the right hander’s second walk of the contest. Teator then swiped second base and came home with the go-ahead run when catcher Joey Myers launched a clutch hard single to center. Myers tried for second on the throw home but got nailed for the third out when he over slid the bag.
The Rebels, held to seven singles in the first six frames by CVU starter Andrew Leckerling and lefty reliever Alex Hopkins, exploded off Hopkins in the bottom of the seventh to plate a pair of runs for the win.
Martin led off with a double to deep right. Following a first out fly to left, Austin Fay slugged a triple to deep center to send in Martin to tie the game. Andrew Tranmer then bopped a single to right center to score Fay.
Down 2-0 going into the top of the third, the Redhawks put up a crooked number three on the board. Jared Badger and Drew Nick had singles before Shane Montani placed a slick surprise bunt. A double steal scored Badger and RBI grounders from Fleming and Alec Zullo plated the other two runs.
South Burlington tied it at 3 in the bottom of the inning on a walk, single and run-scoring wild pitch.
Leckerling had a strong outing, going the first four innings while giving up four singles and three runs — two earned — while whiffing two. Hopkins gave up three hits, two of the infield variety, and had allowed no runs and struck out two until the Rebels went boom-boom-boom in the seventh.