In baseball action, late rallies lift Eagles past Otters, 4-0

BRANDON — Two area baseball teams faced off at Otter Valley Union High School on a chilly spring Saturday, knowing only one would come out with its first win of the season.
In the end, that team was Mount Abraham Union High School, which beat Otter Valley, 4-0.
But it was anybody’s ballgame up until the seventh inning, thanks to capable pitching from both teams. Mount Abe senior starter Mike Jerome got the complete-game win, throwing 92 pitches and showing great control.
Sophomore Derek Aines also pitched well for the Otters, but all it took were a few key mistakes for Mount Abe to capitalize.
The game was scoreless into the top of the sixth, when Mount Abe’s Chris Wood scored the first run for the Eagles from second base.
Aines allowed a double, then plunked Eagle Matt Mullin in the back. But Aines showed great poise and pitched himself out of the jam, sending the last batter packing with a strikeout to end the inning.
The Otters then tried to fight back with their bats, but Jerome sent them down in order.
At the top of the seventh, the Eagles broke the game open. Mount Abe third baseman George Bailey hit a leadoff single, but Aines fanned the next two batters.
On a full count, the Otter sophomore walked Mount Abe’s Joe Payea, to put two on base.
Chris Wood then smacked a deep single to right field, scoring Bailey and Payea to make it 3-0 for the Eagles.
Mount Abe had Aines’ number by then. Still at two outs, Eagle senior Ernie Brouillard hit a single to center to score Wood from second and put the Eagles up by four runs.
In the bottom half of the frame, the Otters tried to muster a rally. John Winslow led off with a single, and Connor Gallipo worked a walk.
 With two on, sophomore Greg Whitney hit a hard single to center, but the Eagles turned a double play, throwing out Gallipo at second and Winslow at home. One more out, and the Eagles had their first win.
Mount Abe Coach Jeff Stetson said Jerome’s 92 pitches were a high for the season so far, and that he was very please with both teams’ play.
“That’s the deepest he’s been this year,” he said of Jerome. “We played good baseball and (OV) played good baseball. It’s nice to break into the ‘win’ column.”
OV Coach Mike Howe said he could not be happier with Aines’ performance on the mound.
“He pitched wonderfully,” Howe said of his sophomore hurler. “I could not have asked for more from him. I’m very proud of his performance today.”
Howe said the game came down to a few well-placed hits.
“It was a matter of maybe a missed spot or two,” the coach said. “Infield singles are a part of the game.”
Mount Abe, now 1-2, faces a busy week in the quest for another win, hosting Essex on Tuesday and then playing at Middlebury on Thursday and St. Johnsbury on Saturday.
OV is 0-3 and will try for their first win this week against Burr & Burton at home on Tuesday and at Windsor on Friday.

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