Legion falls in Vermont tournament
CASTLETON — Despite another fine regular season, the Addison County American Legion baseball team came up short in the Vermont tournament for the second straight summer this past weekend, when two upsets at Castleton State College sent AC home early.
On Friday, Southern Division No. 3 seed Brattleboro edged AC, the Northern No. 2 seed, 3-1. On Saturday, North No. 4 Colchester eliminated AC from the double elimination tournament, 12-2.
Coach Mike Estey’s AC team still finished the season at 17-8 overall and played well enough to finish second in the Northern Division. In three years under Estey and assistant Jim Lutton, AC has won the state tournament after finishing second in the Northern Division in 2008, finished first in the Northern Division during the regular season in 2009, and earned this year’s second-place finish.
Estey noted that AC managed to win more than two-thirds of its games this season despite getting only a handful of innings from expected staff pitching ace Ben Orvis, who suffered what Estey called a “dead arm” all summer. (Orvis did contribute offensively.)
Estey praised the work of Sean Harrison, Logan Williams, Mickey O’Connor, Cam Curler and Collin Curler, all of whom stepped up and assumed greater pitching responsibility.
“We won 17 games, and we didn’t get hardly anything out of Ben,” Estey said. “I’m very happy.”
The team excelled defensively, notably Cam Curler at short, Collin Curler at second, Dean Butler behind the plate, and Kyle Kayhart in center field. But after a hot start at the plate, AC started to have trouble scoring runs despite plenty of extra batting practice, and that trend continued this past weekend at Castleton.
“We couldn’t get untracked hitting-wise,” Estey said.
The team didn’t string hits together, and couldn’t get leadoff runners on to manufacture offense.
“We never got anything going until there were one or two outs,” Estey said.
The hardest part of the weekend for Estey was watching the Legion careers of a half-dozen mainstays conclude: Butler, Cam Curler, Seth Delorme, Harrison, Kayhart and Orvis have used up their eligibility.
“It’s a great bunch of kids. It was emotional at the end,” Estey said.
On Friday, Devon Rhodes tossed a complete-game two-hitter to spark Brattleboro past AC, 3-1. Butler drilled both AC hits, one in the first inning that helped AC to a 1-0 lead.
Harrison kept Brattleboro off the board until the sixth. An error and two doubles made it 2-1.
AC’s best chance to rally came in the seventh inning. An error helped load the bases with two out, and Kayhart drilled a grounder up the middle. But Brattleboro shortstop Soren Pelz-Walsh ranged far to snare it and nip Kayhart at first.
Brattleboro added a two-out run in the eighth off Cam Curler on one bloop single and two of the more solid variety. In all, Brattleboro had eight hits off Harrison and Curler.
The Colchester Cannons needed just seven innings on Saturday to end AC’s season, 12-2. Hurler Matt Ravey tossed a seven-hitter, including two by Orvis, and the Cannons erupted for six runs in the third inning off Williams to snap a 2-2 tie.
In all, the Cannons rapped 19 hits in the elimination game, and every Colchester batter had at least one hit, including a Cody Sharrow homer.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].