Eagle baseball hits its groove, brings record to 5-6 with NCU win
BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Union High School baseball team kept up its recent winning ways on Thursday, when the Eagles rode the two-hit pitching of Josh Cyr past visiting North Country, 5-2.
The victory was the third in four outings for Mount Abe, which improved to 5-6.
Senior catcher Cody Alexander, who singled home a run and threw out a runner trying to steal in the Falcon seventh, said the Eagles — who rallied past Burlington earlier last week — are coming together.
“We started off rough, but now we’re starting to gain confidence back,” Alexander said. “With our confidence building like this, I think we can beat anyone.”
Coach Jeff Stetson said his team is beginning to make better contact at the plate, and critically has stopped giving away runs to its opponents. On Thursday, the Eagles’ only error came on a tough chance on a ground ball up the middle, and Alexander erased that miscue when the runner tried to steal.
“We’ve cut down on the mistakes we’ve made, and defensively giving ourselves a chance to win. And we’re doing just enough offensively,” Stetson said.
The 0-10 Falcons technically played errorless ball, but they let second baseman Jared Danyow’s first-inning pop-up fall untouched for a gift single. Falcon starter Bryce Carter wild-pitched him to second, and after third baseman Cody Driscoll walked Alexander laced a single to left to score Danyow and make it 1-0 after one inning.
NCU took the lead in the second. Cyr walked cleanup hitter Wyatt Prue, and lefty Joel Lamarche followed by pulling a no-doubt homer over the right-field fence.
But that was it for the Falcons. Cyr spotted his fastball and mixed in a slow curve to keep the hitters off-balance. He struck out only one, walked two, hit two batters, and recorded 13 outs through the air — a couple were line drives, but many were popups or fly balls.
Alexander had the best view from behind the plate.
“I thought Josh did great. He threw very accurate today, and he threw hard,” Alexander said. “He had a great curve ball. He knew the high strikes, they were swinging at them. They were just popping them up, so he was just throwing high.”
Cyr’s toughest inning was the sixth, when with the Eagles nursing a 3-2 lead he hit two batters with two out to bring Lamarche up again. Lamarche struck the ball fairly well, but centerfielder Mike White was there to end the threat.
Meanwhile, the Eagles pecked away. After the Falcons took the lead in the second, Mount Abe tied it at 2-2 in the bottom of the inning. Shortstop Sawyer Kamman singled, stole second, moved to third on White’s ground out, and scored on left fielder Nick Driscoll’s two-out single.
The Eagles took a 3-2 lead in the third. Cody Driscoll singled, stole second, and scored on the first of DH Austin Lafayette’s two singles. Right fielder Aaron Benway followed with another hit, knocking Carter from the mound. Prue then ended the threat by getting Kamman to hit into a double play, with shortstop Tyler Sanville doing good work on Kamman’s hard ground ball up the middle.
Prue kept the Eagles in check until the bottom of the sixth, when Kamman led off. He singled, stole second, and moved to third on a wild pitch. Meanwhile, White walked and stole second. Kamman scored on pinchhitter Dylan Roscoe’s squeeze bunt, which was so well placed it was also a hit. White scored next even though Nick Driscoll struck out trying to squeeze him home: White was credited with a steal of home base when he eluded the Falcons in a rundown.
Cyr then took care of the Falcons in the seventh, with the outs coming from Alexander’s throw and two more balls hit softly in the air.
Challenges lie ahead for the Eagles, including this week’s games at Rice on Tuesday and at Vergennes on Thursday. But Stetson likes how far his team has come as the Division II postseason is appearing on the horizon.
“We’re on a little bit of a roll anyway, so we’re enjoying it,” Stetson said. “I think these kids are right about where I hoped they’d be at this point. We’ve got a tough stretch on the way home, but this is why we like to play in the Metro. You play tough competition every day, and if you get better and better and better, by the end of the season you’re ready for the tournament.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].
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