June 11, 2009
By Mal Boright
A young Champlain Valley Union High baseball team will have to wait until 2010 to keep improving.
The Redhawks, 4-13 for the season, closed out the current campaign Thursday with a narrow, 3-2 playoff loss to Mount Anthony Union High in Bennington. The 13-4 Patriots were seeded fourth in Division 1, while the upset-minded Redhawks were the 13th seed.
Mount Anthony went on to nip Rice Memorial 5-4 Friday in a quarterfinal and knocked off top-seeded Essex High, 8-5, in a semifinal on Monday.
“It was a great game, one of our best of the year,” CVU head coach Tim Albertson said Sunday of the playoff test in the Monument Town.
He said the winners earned all three of their runs (no errors or walks), which came in the first two frames.
Trailing 3-0 early, the Redhawks were able to get scores in the third and fifth innings. Both were produced by senior thumper Shane Montani, with a double and infield grounder. A potential tying run was nipped at the plate.
Junior Theron Fuller started on the mound for CVU and gave way to lefty Alex Hopkins, another junior, in the fourth. Hopkins got out of a bases loaded, no outs jam unscathed and shut down Mount Anthony the rest of the way.
Eric Ware went the route for the Patriots, limiting the Redhawks to six hits while fanning seven and walking none.
“Their pitcher threw well,” Albertson said.
Looking back at the season, the mentor was pleased with what he called “steady improvement” of the team after it opened the season with six straight defeats.
“We learned how to adjust and got our bats rolling,” the first year head coach said. “We were getting up to between seven and nine hits a game.”
Montani, catcher Joe Myers and outfielders Carl Lozon and Jared Badger are the seniors who will be departing.
The pitching staff of Fuller, Hopkins, fellow juniors Collin Teator and Andrew Leckerling, sophomore Emily Sackett and freshmen Curt Echo and Drew Nick will all be back.