By Matt Rushford
Special to the Observer
July 3, 2013
It took nearly a week, but the Williston 11-12 Little League All-Stars finally completed its first tournament game on June 27, defeating Colchester 20-1 in a mercy-rule shortened four-inning contest.
The match began last Sunday afternoon, but after several delays for thunder and lightning, a torrential downpour stopped play after the teams managed to squeeze in one inning of play with no runs tallied for either side.
After several last-minute cancellations, play resumed Thursday, with Storm Rushford retaking the mound for Williston in the top of the second inning. Some unease was detected in the crowd when the first batter for Colchester put one over the right field fence for a solo shot that broke the deadlock and put Colchester in the lead. As it turns out, that would be their only run—and lead—of the game, and one of only four hits that Williston pitchers would allow. Rushford fanned seven in three innings with a combination of knee-wobbling fastballs and an unorthodox change-up that he describes as “a work in progress.”
The bottom of the second opened with some promise for the boys in blue when second baseman Aidan Johnson mashed a warning-track double to center. After Johnson stole third, left fielder Ben Herskowitz drew a walk on a ball that got past the otherwise stingy Colchester catcher. Johnson attempted to steal home but was denied the plate by the covering Colchester hurler. A collision between the two ended the inning and left Johnson with a bloody lip, but the confrontation nevertheless may have rattled the Colchester squad. Colchester began the third inning with four consecutive walks, allowing nine total walks in that inning and key hits from catcher Jake Murphy, center fielder Tyler Skafflestad, third baseman Griffin McDermott (whose bases loaded single kept the rally going) and Johnson, who exacted his revenge by walking and doubling in the inning, which ended with Williston leading 14-1.
After scoring six more runs in the fourth inning, Williston called on Murphy to close the game. He did, via a groundout to second, a line drive caught by the shortstop and a single. The baserunner was caught roaming too far from first base by catcher Baker Angstman and first baseman Ian Parent. “It was a tremendous team effort, with every player contributing on offensive and defensive,” Manager Tom Parent said. “It’s great to get that first game under our belts and in the W column.”
The Williston squad is now 1-0 in pool play and is scheduled to play Burlington American on Saturday.