Outlaws eyeing second straight tournament victory

Aug. 4, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


The Vermont Outlaws’ Alex Henning, a Champlain Valley Union High School student, tries to complete a double play during his team’s 9-7 loss to a team from Lac St. Louis, Canada on July 29. (Observer photo by Shane Bufano)

With a major tournament title triumph this past weekend under their belts, coach Tim Albertson and his Vermont Outlaws are looking ahead to this weekend’s Next Level Baseball League’s season-ending double elimination tournament starting Friday at Rice Memorial High in South Burlington.

The Outlaws, 26-15 overall, will open as the top seed and tangle with the Colchester Junior Cannons Friday (5:30 p.m.).

The 14- to 17-year-old squad plays a regional schedule with road games and tournaments ranging from southern New Hampshire to Ottawa, Canada. The 19-player roster includes nine from Champlain Valley Union High School and guys from seven other nearby schools.

Albertson, head baseball coach at CVU, calls the Outlaws “a competitive travel team.”

For their victories last weekend, the Outlaws had to travel only to their home field at Rice. There, they won four straight games and the wooden bat annual Summer Showdown championship after dropping Friday’s opener, 9-7, to Lac St. Louis, Canada.

On Saturday, they recorded a 9-3 win against Ottawa and a 10-4 triumph over the Montreal Titans with Connor Bradley (South Burlington High School) and Matt Baechle (SBHS) earning the pitching wins.

On Sunday, the Outlaws earned two come-from-behind triumphs for the title on a warm and sunny day.

In the morning opener, the Outlaws trailed the Vermont Jays, 4-2, before putting up four runs in the fifth and sixth innings for a 6-5 victory.

The victory pitted the Outlaws against Burlington, Mass., which came into the game with a 4-0 record in the tournament. The Outlaws again trailed, 4-2, going into the bottom of the fifth. Burlington right-hander Chris Sharpe retired nine straight batters on just 21 pitches. But on their second and third times through the batting order, the Outlaws caught up with Sharpe on singles by Kirk Fontana (CVU), Monte Green (Mount Mansfield Union), a walk and fielder’s choice to load the bases with one out. Baechle singled to left to drive in two runs, which tied the game at 2. Tim Jones (CVU) followed with an RBI single to left. Davis Mikell (CVU) then unloaded a screaming two-bagger that bounced against the fence in center to plate two more runs.

Mikell later came scored on Matt Bouvier’s (South Burlington) sacrifice fly for an 8-4 lead. Singles by Alex Henning (CVU) and Jones (three RBIs) helped the Outlaws break the game open in the bottom of the sixth and they won, 11-5.

Right-hander Ryan Fleming hurled the seven-inning distance for the Outlaws, allowing just five hits and one earned run. He fanned four and walked four.

In the opener against the Jays, the Outlaws earned the win with three runs in the bottom of the sixth off hard throwing right-hander Kevin Guild. Mikell and Fleming led off with singles and Bouvier popped a hustle double to short center to score Mikell and tie the game at 4. Bradley then lined a two-run single to left.

The Jays, with a walk and RBI double, got a run back but left the bases loaded when Cameron Bourbeau made a twisting and diving catch to end the inning.

Mikell went the distance, giving up six hits and striking out seven. The hurler, who throws hard, said his heaters broke three of the Jays’ wooden bats.

The Outlaws’ pitcher helped his cause with a pair of singles and an RBI. Bouvier had a single to go with his sixth-inning double. Jones collected a double, single and an RBI.