July 9, 2009
By Mal Boright
Holy Major League schedule, Batman.
This week would be a heavy load for even the guys in the bigs.
Starting on Tuesday, the S.D. Ireland American Legion baseball team, which features local players, faced a slate of 10 games in eight days, including some crucial contests this weekend against its division counterparts.
The action week began with a doubleheader Tuesday at the three-day Cooper’s Cave tournament in Glens Falls, N.Y., involving teams from around the Northeast. The Irelands had a single game scheduled Wednesday and then another twin bill Thursday, the final day of the event.
“This tournament is very strong competition,” S.D. Ireland head coach Jim Neidlinger said late last week as the team worked out at Champlain Valley Union High. “Last year we went 1-4 and we usually were competitive. It is a learning experience.”
The Irelands, now 4-3 in the local bat and ball bashes, get back to league play Friday evening at Essex at 5:30. On Saturday, the Clover Guys travel to Montpelier for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., one of the contests the makeup of a previous rainout at CVU.
A home game against Green Mountain on Sunday will get under way at 1 p.m. at CVU. After an off day Monday, the team will travel to Lyndon State College for a Tuesday evening (5:30) tilt with OEC Kings.
Neidlinger believes his youthful charges are improving and pointed to last Thursday’s 6-2 victory over Addison County in Bristol as an example.
Pitcher Andy Kent fired a two-hitter in going the route and Neidlinger, the former Los Angeles Dodger hurler, was pleased.
“He (Kent) threw only 81 or 82 pitches and for the most part was staying ahead of the hitters,” Neidlinger observed.
The coach said Kent had no strikeouts, but Addison was putting the ball in play and the fielding support was solid.
“It was one of our better games,” Neidlinger added.
There was also some muscle in the Ireland bats. Nick Elderton cranked out a home run, Sean Rugg slammed a double and single and drove in a tally and Anthony DeToma unloaded an RBI two-bagger.
S.D. Ireland schedule
Thursday: at Coopers Cave Tournament, Glens Falls, N.Y.
Friday: at Essex (Essex High field), 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: at Montpelier (Recreation Field), 2 games, 1 p.m.
Sunday: GREEN MOUNTAIN (at Champlain Valley Union High), 1 p.m.
Tuesday: at OEC Kings (at Lyndon State College field), 5:30 p.m.