BRISTOL — The Vergennes Union High School baseball team rallied to tie host Mount Abraham in the seventh and plated the winning run in the eighth on Thursday to defeat the Eagles, 4-3, in a back-and-forth game.
The winning rally started with a leadoff single by Nick Richer off losing pitcher Tommy Nelson, Richer’s second safety of the afternoon. Zach Ouellette sacrificed pinch-runner Austin Burnett to second base, and Burnett slid home safely — barely — on Justus Sturtevant’s second hit of the game, a soft single to right field.
The Commodores had erased the Eagles’ 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh when Colin Babcock singled and came around to score on a Tim Shea sacrifice, a Collin Curler single and a Devin Hayes squeeze bunt.
The late rally made a pitching winner of Hayes, who went the eight-inning distance. Hayes allowed three hits and three walks and struck out 11. All the Eagles’ runs were unearned.
Nelson pitched well, too, allowing eight hits, two walks and three earned runs in 7.1 innings while striking out six.
The Commodores, who improved to 8-4 heading into their Saturday home game vs. Spaulding, took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Shea walked and Curler reached on an error to set the table. Hayes doubled home Shea, and Curler scored on a Charlie Stapleford single. Nelson then shut the door on the Commodores until the seventh as the Eagles rallied.
Mount Abe got one run back in the first. Nelson doubled, stole third and scored on a passed ball. The Eagles tied the game in the third. Nick Ouellette walked, and courtesy runner Dylan Roscoe reached third on an error.
Coach Jeff Stetson called for a squeeze, and Roscoe was caught in a rundown when the batter failed to get the bunt down. But Roscoe escaped the rundown and scored; technically, he was awarded a steal of home base.
The Eagles took the lead in the fifth, with B.J. Haskins scoring after singling to reach base. He advanced on a fielder’s choice and a stolen base and scored on an error.
But that was all that Hayes would allow, although Mount Abe had the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the eighth. Ian Campbell had the only other hit for the Eagles, who dropped to 5-6 heading into their Saturday game at Missisquoi.
On Saturday, Missisquoi edged the Eagles, 2-1, in eight innings. The winning run scored on an Eagle miscue and made a hard-luck loser of pitcher Sawyer Kamman.
The Commodores also found themselves in a battle on Saturday, but prevailed, 2-0, despite being held to one hit. That safety was a sixth-inning double by Hayes that plated Richer and made it a two-run game. In the second inning, Stapleford reached base, stole third base and scored on an error. Curler earned the win with four innings of shutout ball as VUHS moved to 9-4, a record that could move them into the top four in Division II.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at email@example.com.