Baseball team breaks into win column (5/14/09)

May 14, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

A six-game, season-opening losing streak now history, the Champlain Valley Union High baseball team has two straight victories to its credit and will be in Middlebury Thursday hoping to keep on charging.

The Redhawks will then play host to Milton High (4-3 entering the week) at 11 a.m. on Saturday. St. Johnsbury Academy comes to Hinesburg Tuesday for a 4:30 p.m. contest.

Success on the field finally came CVU’s way Friday afternoon with 7-3 home victory over 0-7 North Country Union.

Trailing 3-1, the Redhawks struck for six runs in the bottom of the fifth and made a winning pitcher of reliever Emily Sackett, who came on in the top of the fifth with the Redhawks behind and left after the top of the sixth, her team well in front.

It may be the first time in Vermont high school baseball annals that a girl has picked up a pitching victory.

Tuesday’s 9-8 victory at home over 0-7 Missisquoi Union got a bit hairy in the final inning as the Redhawks coughed up an 8-4 lead, only to chase in the winning run with no outs in the bottom of the frame.

The Dude of the Day was relief pitcher Theron Fuller. The veteran righty took over from Andrew Leckerling in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs and the lead cut to 8-5. Fuller walked in a run when a 3-2 pitch just missed the inside corner. An infield error (grounder through legs) let in another tally, the bases remaining full.

Fuller then got Ben Fournier on a sacrifice fly to deep center, which tied the score. A whiff and grounder to second ended the inning without further damage.

But not by clutch hurling alone would Fuller be known this day.

Leading off the bottom of the seventh, the junior slashed a hard single to right center. J.P. Benoit ran for the pitcher and immediately stole second. Konnor Fleming then popped a single to short center. Benoit, who had held up fearing a possible catch, took off for third. The ball was thrown high over the base and Benoit, with legs pumping at warp speed, scampered home with the winning tally.

The Redhawks had trailed 2-1 early before striking for three runs in the bottom of the third with Shane Montani’s two-run single under an infielder’s glove the key hit. CVU added four more runs in the fourth, Carl Lozon’s two-run single to center, an RBI double by Leckerling and Colin Teator’s run producing single the key socks.

After that, the CVU bats went silent until the final whacks.

The starting pitcher, freshman Curt Echo, lasted into the fifth, when the Thunderbirds put together a pair of runs to get to within 8-4. Junior lefty Alex Hopkins worked a scoreless inning-and-a-third, which got to the final frame.

Andrew Nick had a pair of hits and a walk from the leadoff position for the second straight outing.

Nick collected a double and RBI single in the North Country victory. Montani smashed a double and single with two RBIs, while Lozon and Leckerling each rapped two hits.

“These guys never quit,” coach Tim Albertson said of his youthful Redhawks after Tuesday’s victory. “We are getting better.”