By Matt Rushford
Williston’s 9- and 10-year-old little league all-stars won the state championship on Tuesday night, defeating St. Albans in a mercy rule-shortened game, 12-2. The game continued play that started the previous evening, but was suspended after three innings due to severe thunderstorms.
In that first half on Monday, pitcher Griffin McDermott allowed two runs in the first inning, but settled down and retired the side in the second with three consecutive strikeouts. Offensively, Williston opened strong with three hits in the first inning, but only managed to score one run until the third. Powered by hits from Ben Herskowitz, Baker Angstman, Aidan Johnson and McDermott, they added four more to their tally to leave the score 5-2 when play was suspended.
Play resumed Tuesday night under relatively clear skies. Williston opened the game in the top of the fourth with Ryan Eaton drawing a walk and Angstman driving a two-run double down the left field line. McDermott added another double in the same spot to bring in more runners, and Williston extended the lead to 10-2.
Williston ace Storm Rushford took the mound, retiring the side with two strikeouts and a shallow pop-up to the infield. The mercy rule was secured by none other than Owen McDermott, the reserve outfielder who had yet to score a hit in the tournament. With bases loaded, he blasted a hard single that drove in two runs.
Rushford needed only nine pitches to close out the game for Williston, fanning the last two batters with blistering fastballs and securing Williston’s first 9-10 state championship in 12 years and only its second ever.
“This team combines great pitching, powerful and disciplined hitting, and excellent fielding,” said Team Manager Paul Angstman. “They are also a hard working, focused group that bring along a helpful and dedicated group of parents.”
On Friday, Williston defeated Bennington 28-7 in a four-inning game, and on Saturday walloped St. Albans 16-0 in a four-inning game.
The boys in blue now advance to the Eastern Regional Tournament in Cranston, Rhode Island.