Versatile Eagle leads Independent all-stars

ADDISON COUNTY — A Mount Abraham Union High School junior who had a strong all-around season on the mound, at the plate and in the field is the Addison Independent Player of the Year and leads the Independent’s 2011 Baseball All-Star Team — one that for the first time ever does not include a senior.
Player of the Year Tommy Nelson had an excellent season for Coach Jeff Stetson’s Eagles to earn top honors, including notching four pitching wins for a team that won five games. The Eagles failed to make the program’s sixth straight appearance in a D-II final, but their victories included one at Vergennes and another on the road in the D-II postseason. Two of Nelson’s classmates join him on the Independent team.
Coach George Ringer’s 8-11 youthful Commodores ended up with the strongest finish. VUHS, with probably the most balanced of the local lineups, won three of its final five Metro games to earn a Division II home game, and then won two more to make it to the semifinal round before falling. Two Commodore underclassmen earned spots on the Independent squad.
First-year mentor Tim Mitchell’s Otter Valley nine — also a young group — won seven times, including a first-round D-II playoff victory on the road. Two sophomores who comprised a fine battery made the Independent team.
Coach Doc Seubert’s Tigers — yes, they were young, too — won just four times, but picked up a rare win at Mount Abe late in the spring and then knocked off D-II’s No. 2 seed in the first round of the playoffs. Two Tiger juniors and a sophomore round out the Independent stars.
Selections for Independent all-star teams are made based on observation, statistics and consultation with the coaches. Congratulations to the following:
TOMMY NELSON, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Compiled a 4-4 pitching record for a 5-12 team in the Metro Conference with a 3.72 earned-run average, striking out 32 in 37.2 innings … Tossed a complete-game one-hitter in the Eagles’ playoff win at Mill River, allowing only an infield single … At the plate batted .372 with an on-base percentage of .491, scoring 12 runs and driving in seven … Excelled at third base and at shortstop, ended up spending most of his time at third.
Stetson’s Quotes: “He has a very hard fastball that has real good movement on it … By the end of the season he really started to throw his curveball for strikes … In my lineup my No. 3 hitter is my best hitter, and he hit third for me all year … He was our best infielder anywhere I put him. He’s got a strong arm, good hands, decent range …  He was probably the most intense and competitive guy that we had on the team … He really wanted to do well and wanted us to do well.”
MARSHALL HASTINGS, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Three-year starter at second base for MUHS who enjoyed another fine season … Hit .388 and created 25 runs, scoring 13 and driving in 12 … Drilled four doubles, reached base at a .444 clip, and stole 10 bases in 10 attempts … Showed great range and soft hands in the field … Became a strong team leader.
Seubert’s Quotes: “He is very committed to performance. He’s a real student of the game … He turned several nice double plays this year, and he’s great on fly balls over his head … He’s the animator of the team and had several motivational moments throughout the year when we were down … Marshall was one of our captains and really took on that responsibility. He owned it.”
COLLIN CURLER, VUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Played errorless ball at shortstop while handling 66 chances, recording 29 putouts and 37 assists … Showed plenty of range and an accurate arm … Tied for the team lead by scoring 15 runs and drove in five while batting .316 after a slow start … Threw seven innings in relief and earned two saves with an ERA of 2.57, striking out seven while allowing six hits and three walks.
Ringer’s Quotes: “Collin started slowly this year from an offensive standpoint, but really picked it up in the second half … Once on base, Collin is a very smart baserunner … Defensively, I would rate Collin with anyone that I saw this season … He has remarkable range … Collin loves the game as much as anyone I’ve coached, never gives up, and is a very positive teammate.”
THOMAS ROBERTS, OVUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: 15-year-old catcher who keyed the OV offense and led all local players with a .429 batting average, 15 RBIs and 19 runs … Worked hard on his defense and became adept at blocking balls in the dirt … Decent thrower who came up big in an extra-inning win vs. Springfield by catching one runner stealing and picking another off first.
Mitchell’s Quotes: “Thomas is a catcher that any coach would love to have on his team … You could probably count his passed balls on one hand … He takes a lot of pride and he works extra hard in stopping passed balls … He finds a way to put the bat on the ball … He led the team at the plate, not so much with power, but his ability to put the ball in play and advance baserunners.”
IAN SHAW, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Won the second base job in the preseason and ran with it, hitting .375 with pop — four doubles, a triple and a homer — and on-base ability, reaching at a .475 rate out of the leadoff spot … Scored 13 runs and drove in seven … Showed plenty of range and made a number of spectacular plays in the course of the season.
Stetson’s Quotes: “He developed himself into a very sound second baseman this year … He made some outstanding plays … He played every inning out there and did a nice job … He became a nice leadoff hitter this year and developed some pop in his bat … He was a real nice player for us this year.”
PATRICK FOLEY, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Slick-fielding first baseman who beat up Metro pitching to the tune of a .391 average and a .481 on-base percentage … Scored 12 runs, drove in five, drilled four doubles and also laid down four sacrifice bunts … Compiled a fielding percentage of .972 while digging a few errant throws out of the dirt.
Seubert’s Quotes: “He handled a lot of bad throws and made a lot of nice plays at first base … He swung the bat as well as I’ve seen him swing the bat ever this year … He really kind of emerged this year, settled us a first base and stepped into that No. 2 spot … He’s a stabilizer out there, he really is … Pat’s a quiet leader. Pat commands respect from his teammates.”
IAN CAMPBELL, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Another first baseman who feasted on Metro mound offerings … Batted .378 with an on-base percentage of .440, scored 12 runs and drove in four … Popped three doubles and a triple … Solid first baseman fielding grounders and handling throws. 
Stetson’s Quotes: He’s a very good first baseman … He really was the vocal leader, making sure everyone knew the situation … He was a pleasant surprise at bat this year … In our lineup the No. 2 hitter means a guy who is going to put the ball on the bat a lot and move the runner along, and he was a good solid no. 2 hitter for us.”
TYLER PROVENCHER, MUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: Helped MUHS on the mound, at the plate and in the field … Compiled a 4-2 pitching mark, earning all four of the Tigers’ wins, including a complete-game effort at No. 2 Fair Haven in the playoffs, striking out six and walking none … Batted .327 with 11 RBIs, stroking six doubles and scoring five times … Played well at shortstop when not on the mound.
Seubert’s Quotes: “Tyler went deep every time he pitched … Nothing bothers him. That’s a great attribute for a kid … He just keeps playing hard the whole time … He believed in himself and he believed in his teammates … He hit the ball. He was consistent all year in making contact … He just swings a good bat … He’s a mainstay, for sure … He’s just a gamer.”
BRETT PATTERSON, OVUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: Solid pitcher with a fastball, change-up and curve who won three of his final four decisions, including OV’s road playoff game, to finish at 3-3 … Allowed no more than three runs in any of his final four starts, including a one-hitter vs. Woodstock … Struck out 48 batters in 40 innings, including a season-high 13 vs. Windsor … Batted higher than .300 … Named team MVP by Mitchell.
Mitchell’s Quotes: “Brett was my No. 1 pitcher this year and his performance was better than his 3 – 3 record indicated … As a sophomore, he’s one of the toughest around.  I’ve coached him for the last four years and watched him improve every year, physically and mentally … He’s not at his peak point yet, but it’s going to be a pleasure to watch him when he is.”
DEVIN HAYES, VUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: After missing the first few games to injury, came on strong on the mound, at the plate and in the outfield … Led VUHS with a 3-2 pitching record … Didn’t beat himself, issuing just five walks while striking out 21 in 26.2 innings … Batted a team-best .368 with a slugging percentage of. 526 by drilling three doubles and a homer… Scored six runs, drove in eight and batted .583 with runners in scoring position.
Ringer’s Quotes: “He had an immediate impact when he joined the team … He took a lot of strain off the pitching staff … He came up with some big games offensively … He played very consistently in the field … He was very level-headed. He was bulletproof … I was very confident having him out there.”
Andy Kirkaldy is at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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