Playoff hopes dashed for S.D. Ireland (7/23/09)

Up and down season ends early for Legion team

July 23, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With two games left to play (one league contest, one non-league), the S.D. Ireland American Legion baseball team will not be going to the state tournament.


    Observer photo by Karen Pike
S.D. Ireland player Jordan Armstrong comes around to score off a double by Joe Myers during the team's American Legion baseball game against Knights of Columbus, South Burlington, held at Champlain Valley Union High School on Sunday.


    Observer photo by Karen Pike
Second baseman Nicky Elderton throws to first during S.D. Ireland's American Legion baseball game.

The season finales were a trip to Fairfax and a Monday makeup of a previously rained out contest, plus an exhibition encounter Wednesday at their Champlain Valley Union High home against the Champlain Edge.

S.D. Ireland’s playoff tournament hopes took a fatal blow last Wednesday when the team bowed twice to the Colchester Cannons at Centennial Field, 10-0 and 9-8. The losses dropped the Irelands out of the top four spots in the Northern Division and thus the tournament.

From there, the week’s remaining games were just nifty (easy win at Burlington and solid triumph Sunday over South Burlington at home) and yikes (a thumping and then some Saturday by the OEC Kings at CVU.)

The Kings, of Orleans-Essex County, will be the favorite in the tournament and showed why on Saturday, busting up the CVU field and fences for a 23-2 blast off, fueled by five — count ‘em, five — circuit clouts in a 16-hit barrage. The game was called after five thumping frames.

Primary bruiser was stocky lefty pitcher Adam Farrar, who clubbed three homers and drove in nine tallies. On the mound, he limited the Irelands to five hits while walking two and fanning five with an uneconomical 102 pitches in five innings.

OEC earned its bounty of runs in that 22 of them were earned. All five of the round trippers came, oddly enough, on first pitches.

Irelands bounce back against South Burlington

After being victimized by that whack-a-do, how the youthful Ireland team would react Sunday for the final home contest with South Burlington was a mystery.

It did not look good when the visiting Knights unloaded on Ireland starter Sean Rugg for three hits and three runs in the top of the first. Rugg, troubled by a balky curve, also walked two.

The righty got his bender back into the strike zone in the second inning and limited the Knights to four singles and two additional runs over the next four innings to pick up the victory as his teammates unloaded a seven-spot on the visitors in the bottom of the first to cruise to a 9-6 triumph.

Leadoff batters Justin Raymond and Anthony DeToma nailed blue darter singles to get the Irelands started. Shane Montani, a clutch rapper, singled home the first run and Andy Kent drove in the second with a single. After Montani scored on a wild pitch, Joey Myers slammed the big bomb, a bases-loaded double to left that brought home three tallies, two runners having reached on walks.

Raymond, who had a three-hit day, singled home Myers with the final run of the productive inning.

It was a multitask day for Raymond. After roaming far and wide in center field to bag five line drive and fly ball outs, the right hander took over on the mound in the sixth. After allowing two singles, a walk and run, he shut down the Knights over the final three innings for a well deserved save. He whiffed three.

Montani finished with three singles and a pair of ribbies. But his hardest shot, a bazooka blast, was snagged chest high in self defense at first base.

The Irelands entered the closing two games with a 9-8 division record and 11-14-1 overall.