Blazing CVU baseball team smokes out Rice

Game draws major league and college scouts
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Tuesday’s postponement of a contest with Burlington High leaves the 7-1 Champlain Valley Union High baseball team with two fixtures remaining on the current four-game home stand.
Coach Tim Albertson’s Redhawks play host to Missisquoi Valley Union Thursday afternoon (4:30 p.m.) and Middlebury Union High Tuesday.
In their last exchange of raps on the home diamond, the Redhawks popped visiting 8-2 Colchester High 10-3 Saturday. The win came two days after a 5-2 extra inning thriller victory at defending Division 1 champion Rice Memorial that went down as the Great Chittenden County Smoke Out.
The duel between highly regarded hurlers Rayne Supple of CVU and Rice lefty Will Hesslink drew major league and college scouts to Mike Pearo Field. They saw catchers’ mitts-popping heat and plenty of it.
With hummers in the high 80s and even 90 miles per hour (and yes, there were snappy curves as well), the two aces went into the 7th inning in a 2-2 tie, all runs unearned.
Supple left in the bottom of the seventh after allowing his fourth hit, a single by Anthony Phillips, his third safety of the day. The ground roller to left had followed a walk—Supple’s fifth—and his eighth whiff. The CVU senior had thrown about 120 pitches.
Righthander Andrew Bortnick took over and quickly extinguished the fire with a strike out and fly to center. After CVU scored three times in the top of the eight, Bortnick cruised through the bottom of the inning, getting three batters in order, one on strikes.
The Redhawks, after being limited to just three hits and two tainted tallies in seven innings by Hesslink, went to work in the eighth after the first two batters grounded out. Shea Ireland got the victory rally going by beating out an infield single and taking second on a throwing error. Sam Mikell then unlimbered the crusher, a high and deep blast to right for a triple, the one serious bam of the day off Hesslink, scoring Ireland.
Bortnick then worked Hesslink for his second free pass of the afternoon and the Rice lefty, after more than 110 pitches, was relieved. A hit batter and two walks later, CVU had two more runs and the win.
Hesslink fanned nine in his outing.
In the triumph over Colchester, Swat Man Mikell went three-for-three and drove in two runs while teammate Will Potter had a two-way dandy day, bashing three hits and pitching into the sixth inning, while allowing but one run and fanning eight batters.
Tanner Smith came off the bench and whacked a two-run single to help put the game out of reach. Bortnick hurled the final inning and two-thirds in relief.