Little League stars advance to second round

July 17, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The Williston 11-12-year-old Little League All Star team continued its strong performance, picking up two victories in the second round of the District I Little League tournament.

In its first victory, Williston overcame strong pitching by the Winooski team, scoring four runs on five hits, to earn a 4-1 victory. Williston matched Winooski’s pitching, using four pitchers across six innings and giving up only one hit, a solo homer in the top of the fifth.

Jamie Pierson pitched the first three innings, holding Winooski hitless, and left the game with Williston in the lead 3-0. Davis Mikell started the scoring for Williston, with a solo home run in the first.

Contributed photo by Jeff Schneiderman
Erik Bergkvist, followed by Davis Mikell, rounds third on the way to home plate during the Williston 11-12-year-old Little League All Star team’s 8-5 win over South Burlington over the weekend.

After a scoreless second, Tommy Fitzgerald reached base in the third when the center fielder misplayed a fly ball. Mikell was then intentionally walked and Ryan Schneiderman came to the plate with two out and two on. He drove in Fitzgerald with a single up the middle, moving Mikell to third. The team used some trickery to bring Mikell home, when manager Will Mikell signaled for Schneiderman to fake a steal to second, hoping to initiate a pickle between first and second. The Winooski team fell for the ploy, and Mikell scored from third before Schneiderman was tagged out to end the inning.

Williston struck for one more run in the fifth, when Fitzgerald scored his second run of the game. He led off the inning with a single and advanced to second when Erik Bergkvist drove the ball through the Winooski second baseman’s legs. Mikell was intentionally walked for the second time in the game to load the bases. Schneiderman hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Fitzgerald from third, for the final run of the game.

The pitching committee of Bergkvist, Mikell and Chris Reiss were solid in relief, striking out five across the final three innings.

Defeating the undefeated

In its second game of the weekend, Williston faced an undefeated South Burlington team. Down 3-1 after one inning, Williston came back to win the game 8-5. Connor Stankevich started the comeback in the second with a base hit, which he converted into a run with aggressive base running, assisted by several wild pitches from South Burlington’s starting pitcher.

Williston came alive in the third, scoring five runs on four hits. Mikell added an insurance run in the top of the sixth, with a solo homer off a pitch intended as part of an intentional walk.

Mikell was equally strong on the mound, striking out twelve of the seventeen batters he faced.

The South Burlington club did not give up, however, and created some tense moments in the bottom of the final inning. Mikell left the game with one out in the inning, and South Burlington quickly scored two runs. South Burlington was poised for more, with the bases loaded and the top of the order coming to the plate.

Bergkvist, pitching in relief, remained calm, and stopped any thoughts of a rally. The next batter hit a sharp line drive right at the pitcher, which Bergkvist caught and tossed to first for a double play to end the game.