Legion baseball surging toward postseason

MIDDLEBURY — With the postseason looming, the Addison County American Legion baseball team is in its most daunting stretch of the season. Due to earlier postponements, AC recently began a stretch of nine games in nine days.
AC (14-2, 13-2 in Northern Division play as of Tuesday) started off on July 12 by playing at surprise playoff contender Montpelier. Powered by a dominant pitching performance from Devin Hayes, AC jumped ahead early and held on for a 2-1 victory.
On Saturday, Addison traveled to St. Johnsbury for a nine-inning game against the OEC Kings. AC fell into a 6-1 hole before scoring 13 unanswered runs en route to a 14-6 victory.
Addison’s 13-game winning streak came to a halt on Monday against visiting Colchester with a 4-2 setback.
AC got back to its winning ways on Tuesday, when backed by a solid pitching performance from Aaron Smith, Addison topped visiting Montpelier, 2-1. 
Addison was set to play Essex on Wednesday in their home finale before traveling to play Essex on Thursday, South Burlington on Friday, a doubleheader in Colchester on Saturday and a trip to Montpelier on Sunday to wrap up the regular season.
AC is currently in second place, one game behind Essex for the top spot. The state tournament is set to begin on July 25in Castleton.
AC 2-1
Addison began its stretch by traveling to the state capital to face Montpelier, which has used timely hitting and solid pitching to work its way into the fourth spot in the North, one game behind Colchester as of Tuesday night for the No. 3 seed.
AC got going with a pair of runs in the third, when a hit-batsman and a double put runners on second and third for Ian Shaw, who singled home the team’s only runs.
Hayes got the win for AC, claiming the complete-game victory while striking out six and surrendering just two hits.
Shaw and Colton Aines singled twice for Addison, while Marshall Hastings doubled twice. Charlie Stapleford and Hayes each added a single.
AC 14-6
On Saturday, Addison visited OEC for the third and final time on the year, rallying to beat the Kings 14-6 to grab the season sweep.
AC gained a one-run advantage in the third when Shaw reached base on a two-out single. After Shaw stole second, his tenth steal on the year, Stapleford singled him home.
With the score tied at one in the fifth, OEC plated five runs, chasing Addison starter Josiah Benoit from the game.
With their backs against the wall, AC scored 13 runs over the final four innings to grab the blowout victory.
Benoit lasted four-plus innings, surrendering six runs while striking out one. Sawyer Kamman received the victory, pitching the final five innings while striking out four and relinquishing three hits.
Hastings helped the AC offense by clubbing two doubles while scoring three times. Shaw walked four times while adding a single and scored three runs, while Kamman helped his cause with three runs scored. Aines, Timmy Shea, Wade Steele, Hayes and Stapleford all singled.
Addison’s 13-game winning streak ended at home against Colchester, 4-2, on Monday as AC was unable to put together a significant rally against the Cannons while losing for just the second time.
AC fell behind 1-0 after the first inning before tying the game in the fourth. Shea singled with two outs, and a passed ball moved him into scoring position before Tyler Delancey’s single to right field scored Shea.
Colchester jumped ahead by three in the sixth before holding off an AC rally in the seventh. Then, Casey Covey started things off with a two-out single to center. Hastings singled to left before Shaw brought home Covey on a single to left center, but Colchester ended the comeback bid by inducing a pop up.
Stapleford took the loss for Addison after pitching six innings while striking out four, walking three and giving up nine hits.
AC 3-1
AC got back on the winning trail on Tuesday against visiting Montpelier, thanks to Aaron Smith’s solid pitching performance in the 3-1 win.
AC got on the board in the third after Hastings reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, his 18th steal on the season, and scored when a Shaw ground ball sailed away from the first baseman. With Shaw on second, Stapleford laced a single to right field, giving AC a 2-0 cushion.
After Montpelier cut the lead to one in the fourth, AC got the run right back in the bottom of the frame when Wade Steele smacked his second hit of the game. A sacrifice moved him to second before Kamman dropped a base hit into right field, scoring the third AC run.
Smith got the victory for Addison, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing two hits while walking three and striking out four.

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