Sept. 3, 2009
Entering Sunday’s game against 10-5 Jericho, the 12-3 Williston Armadillos knew they needed to win — and have 11-4 Colchester defeat 12-3 Charlotte — to take the Vermont Senior Baseball League’s regular season championship.
Because the Charlotte Bison had prevailed over the Dillos earlier in the month, if the Dillos ended up with the same record as Charlotte, the Bison would win the regular season championship under the league’s tiebreaker rules. On the other hand, if Williston lost and Colchester won, Colchester would have taken first as the three teams would have ended up with the same record and Colchester would have defeated both of the other teams.
While the Dillos defeated Jericho 5-2, Charlotte turned back Colchester, ensuring the Bison and Williston would end up with identical 13-3 regular season records. With the second place finish by the Dillos, Williston will face the 10-6 Killington Saints in the first game of the league’s tournament on Sunday, Sept. 13. As Williston’s higher seating gives it home field advantage, the game will be held at Williston Central School at noon.
Williston pitching aces Bill Supple and Greg Bolger combined for a four hitter against Jericho. Supple pitched the first six innings, giving up both Jericho runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out three. Bolger threw the last three scoreless innings, giving up no hits, while walking one and striking out one.
On offense, the Dillos collected just eight hits, with Bolger (2-3, 2B, RBI, run) and Supple (2-3, run) being the only ones to collect more than one.
After Jericho jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first on two singles and a fielder’s choice, the Dillos bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Supple singled and scored on Bolger’s double. Bolger raced home when Jericho’s third baseman threw wild to first on second baseman Brent Tremblay’s (1-3, 2B, run) grounder.
Jericho tied the game in the sixth on a walk and two singles and threatened again in the eighth by putting runners on first and second with no outs. Bolger shut down the rally, however, when he snared a hard line drive destined for center and threw to second to turn a double play. He then induced the next batter to fly deep to Darby Crum in right.
Williston put the winning rally together in the eighth off former Dillos hurler Shawn Hollick, then on the mound in relief for the Indians. Tremblay doubled and scored on third baseman Pete Picard’s (1-3, RBI) single. After Tom “Bambino” Fitzgerald (1-3, run) singled, Crum (1-3, 2B, RBI) doubled home Picard, leaving runners at second and third. First baseman Dennis Johnson (0-1, BB, sac, RBI) then brought home the Bambino on a squeeze bunt to the left of the mound to close out the scoring.
Regular season standings not only determine the regular season championship, but also determine each team’s seeding in the single elimination, postseason league championship tournament. The top eight teams play for the league championship; the next eight teams play in a separate consolation bracket and the bottom four play in yet another separate tournament.
“We worked all year to get to where we are, having home field advantage in the first two games of the top bracket,” Bolger said. “We need to win three in a row to take it all.” Williston’s first opponent, Killington, handed the Dillos one of their three losses during the season.
“Needless to say, we have something to prove when we take the field on the 13th,” said manager/player Johnson.