Little League: Mt. Abe youth softball team wins state crown
LYNDONVILLE — The Mount Abraham 11-and-12-year-old Little League softball all-star team ran the table at this past weekend’s double-elimination state tournament in Lyndonville to earn the title of Vermont champions.
Mount Abe, the District I champion, opened the tournament by drawing a bye on Thursday, July 11, and then defeated the Essex all-stars, 11-7, on Friday. On Saturday, host Lyndonville eliminated Essex, and on Sunday, Mount Abe nailed down the crown by blanking Lyndonville, 10-0.
Mount Abe did not have a lot of time to savor its win: The team was set early on Thursday to travel to Bristol, Conn., for the round-robin New England championship tournament, which will run through July 26. Mount Abe’s first game under the Vermont banner will come against Maine on Saturday.
Coach Jeff Muratorri said the top four teams from the Bristol tournament will then square off against the top four teams from the Mid-Atlantic regional tournament, with the top teams from that event to advance to the Little League Softball World Series in Oregon next month.
Mount Abe’s performance in Lyndonville followed its dominant effort in the District I tournament in Bristol earlier in July, when the squad earned a 6-0 mark and outscored its opposition by 99-7.
In Lyndonville, Muratorri said Mount Abe again got offensive contributions from the entire lineup.
“Hitting-wise, it was a team thing … I wouldn’t say anyone stood out from anybody else,” Muratorri said. “It was a team effort in the Districts and in the Lyndonville tournament.”
If one or more players are not hitting in a given game, he said, others have been.
“We have so many strengths. It seems like if someone’s down, someone’s picking them up,” he said.
A constant, Muratorri said, has been the team’s defense, while pitcher Audrey Shahan nailed down both the wins, including Sunday’s four-inning, mercy-rule shutout.
“Audrey pitched consistently strong, and then we made a lot of defensive plays,” he said.
On Sunday, the Mount Abe defense included shortstop Katelynn Ouellette setting the tone by turning a first-inning double play, and third baseman Jenna McArdle later making a diving catch of a hard shot.
Brooke Perlee catches, Olivia Young is the first baseman, and Emily Young plays second while Ouellette and McArdle handle the left side of the infield. Emma Carter, Vanessa Dykstra, Erica Tracey, Ally Hoff, Robyn Arena and Ruby Ball all saw time in the outfield.
Muratorri, who was assisted by Matt Shahan, Scott McArdle and Scott Perlee, also credited the team’s alternates, Chessley Jackman and Sidney Perlee, for attending every practice and rooting the team on in Lyndonville. He also said Mount Abe has “excellent support” from parents and volunteers, which has been critical as the team continues to win and travel.
And Muratorri said the team’s chemistry and work ethic has been second to none, factors that could help them keep advancing.
“I’ve coached a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a group of girls get along better,” Muratorri said. “The other thing that stands out is they work extremely hard.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]
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