Commodore baseball blanks the Eagles, 4-0
VERGENNES — A late-season match-up between the Mount Abraham and Vergennes union high school baseball teams always brings intrigue. A match-up with postseason standing implications is that much sweeter.
As rain clouds threatened on Thursday in Vergennes, VUHS pitcher Devin Hayes powered through seven innings of two-hit ball while striking out 10 in a 4-0 Commodore victory. With the win, the Commodores improved to 8-6 and solidified their hold on sixth place in Division III, while the Eagles dropped to 5-7.
“Devin looked like he could throw a strike any time he wanted to,” VUHS coach George Ringer said. “Any time he got behind, he just came back. Great pitching performance by him.”
The victory marked the second straight contest the Commodores were aided by a phenomenal pitching performance, as Charlie Stapleford led Vergennes to a 1-0 victory at Colchester on Tuesday.
Despite the losing effort, the Eagles also got an impressive outing from Sawyer Kamman, who held the Commodores to just five hits and only one earned run, but Eagle miscues led to VUHS runs.
“I thought our defense hurt us,” Eagle coach Jeff Stetson claims. “They put the ball in play enough to put pressure on us to put up four runs. I thought Sawyer threw well for us, but we aren’t going to win if we aren’t going to score.”
Both pitchers were able to keep the opponent at bay through the first two innings, as each team managed only one hit until the Commodores finally broke through in the third after a leadoff hit by Michael Danyow, who finished with three of the Commodores’ five hits.
Tommy Lee Hodsden followed up with a sacrifice bunt and reached on an errant throw that moved Danyow to third. A fly ball to left field by Zach Ouellette plated Danyow, and a base hit by Stapleford brought home Hodsden, giving VUHS the 2-0 advantage.
The two-run cushion would be enough for Hayes, who retired 17 of the final 18 Eagle batters while walking none and only allowing one runner to reach second base.
“My defense played really well behind me,” Hayes said. “I liked the hustle and luckily it was windy so the ball stayed in the air today. Personally, I had a rough outing a couple games ago against Missisquoi, so it was good to get back in the groove. I got my pitches working.”
Vergennes plated two more runners in the sixth, when Danyow’s third hit scored Nick Richer. Justus Sturtevant came home on a fielder’s choice to wrap up the Commodore scoring.
The Eagles got their hits from Austin Lafayette, who singled in the second, and Cody Alexander, who doubled with two outs in the seventh.
As the home stretch arrives and the playoffs begin, both Mount Abe and Vergennes enter with confidence and momentum and championship aspirations.
Although Mount Abe lost on Thursday against the reigning D-II champions, Stetson feels confident that his bunch won’t be down for long.
“They (the Commodores) are going to be one of the teams to beat in D-II,” he said, “so that should give us some confidence toward the playoffs in that I don’t think we are going to walk out of here thinking that there is no way we would ever beat this team.”
As VUHS collects its eighth win in the highly competitive Metro Conference, everything appears to be falling into place at the right time.
“I think we are coming together a little bit. This was the first game all season that we had everybody on our roster available to play,” Ringer noted.
Not only is the team healthy, but also playing effectively and confidently.
“I think anytime you can go out and play good D, get a good pitching performance, score a few runs, it kind of boosts your confidence a little bit,” Ringer said. “I’ve always felt once we get back on all cylinders, we are going to be OK. There’s a lot of good teams in D-II, there’s some good teams ahead of us. We take nothing for granted but I am real confident that we can beat anybody in our division.”
Hayes said the Commodores hope history will repeat itself.
“County rival games are always huge momentum games,” Hayes said. “Last year, we had a game late in the season against Mount Abe, faced another great pitcher, and that game really propelled us into the playoffs, and we hope this year’s result has the same effect as last year’s.”
Marshall Hastings is a sports intern with the Independentthis summer.
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