OV baseball makes statement in 8-1 drubbing of Burr & Burton
BRANDON – Like a knife through butter, Brett Patterson sliced through the Burr and Burton baseball lineup as smoothly as can be last Thursday, mowing down batter after batter in an 8-1 Otter Valley Union High School victory over the top team in Division II.
In a highly anticipated match-up, Patterson continued to do what he has done all year for the 15-1 Otters, leading them past a 14-2 BBA squad that is battle-tested against D- I contenders.
“(The win) was big,” said Patterson, who never threw more than 14 pitches in any inning. “It was quite a thrill … It pushes us into the playoffs pretty good, now we know we can beat a top seed in Division II.”
BBA’s D-I wins over Mount Anthony, Rutland and Brattleboro apparently gave the Bulldogs enough quality points to earn the top seed for the D-II playoffs. The Otters were expected to be No. 2 when the Vermont Principals Association announced pairings early on Monday.
On this past Thursday, OV got going early against BBA ace Jake Stalcup, plating two runs in the bottom of the first frame. After Stalcup retired the leadoff man, Patterson reached on a Bulldog outfield error, the first of five Bulldog errors.
With Patterson on second, Jim Winslow laced a hard single into right to give the Otters the lead. Winslow then stole second and scored when Mike Winslow connected for a sharp line single into center field.
The Bulldogs scored in the second inning, when Stalcup led off with a single. Dylan Beavin followed with a single, and Weston Muinch laid down a sacrifice bunt, putting runners at second and third with one out. Alex Albertis dropped another bunt, scoring Stalcup and cutting the OV lead to one. The threat ended when the Otters picked Muinch off of third.
The Otters got back to work in the bottom of the inning. Thomas Roberts singled up the middle, and Justin Owen followed with a sinking liner into left field. Albertis charged hard and laid out for the ball, but it kicked off the end of his glove for a double that put runners on second and third.
John Winslow then stroked a double that teased the foul line in right, staying just fair and plating Roberts and Owen. Chad Lonergan followed by reaching on a Bulldog miscue, moving Winslow to third.
Ryan Kelley then singled hard into right field to score Winslow to make it 5-1 before Stalcup worked out of trouble.
The four-run cushion proved to be more than enough for Patterson, who allowed only two runners to reach base the rest of the way. Patterson threw just 75 pitches while surrendering two hits, striking out five and walking one.
“When Brett pitches, I expect him to win,” said OV coach Tim Mitchell. “(75) pitches, how many people are going to do that against … anybody? He was just cruising all day long. I love it. He’s fun to watch.”
The Otters tacked on three late runs against a reliever. Will Claessens finished two-for-three and scored twice, and No. 8 hitter John Winslow went two-for-three with two RBIs and a run scored.
“If I had to look back … those are the guys (the bottom of the order) who’ve made it all happen,” said Mitchell. “There’s not one guy that digs in that box that I don’t think is going to hit the ball hard.”
The Otters will enter the postseason with momentum and confidence, especially after Thursday’s win, which Mitchell said answers OV’s skeptics.
“You know, its back there, ‘They play a soft (schedule)’,” Mitchell said. “I think it shows now we can play with everybody.”
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