Legion baseball nets first victory; season ends

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County American Legion baseball team on Sunday concluded its 2015 campaign by dropping a doubleheader to visiting Franklin County, but not before a split of a Thursday twin bill at Montpelier gave AC its first victory of the summer.
On Thursday, AC (1-17) dropped the opener to Montpelier, 12-5, before breaking through to win the nightcap, 13-8. Those games were originally scheduled in June.
On Sunday, Franklin swept Addison, 9-3 and 5-2. In between, AC forfeited two Saturday road games at Orleans/Essex/Caledonia because its coaching staff believed the team did not have enough pitchers to play six games in four days.
In the Thursday win, AC took a first-inning lead of 3-0. Devon Kimball, Aaron Smith and Chris Leach singled, and walks to Dylan Raymond and Greg Whitney, a Bryce Burrell groundout, and a walk to A.J. Benway produced the runs.
Winning pitcher Aaron Smith allowed a pair of first-inning runs on three hits, a balk and a fielder’s choice, but AC went right back to work in the second. Kimball and Smith singled again, and a Leach double and an error scored two runs. Pat Messenger singled in the final run to make it 7-2. In the third, Kimball singled again, moved up on a Smith sacrifice and a wild pitch, and scored on a Whitney hit to make it 8-2.
After Montpelier managed an unearned run in the bottom of the third, AC put the game out of reach with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. In the fourth, Benway and Hunter O’Connor singled, and two Montpelier errors and two wild pitches helped the runs come around. In the fifth, Raymond walked, Burrell singled, and Messenger banged out an RBI double and came around to score on two wild pitches.
The offensive output was enough to allow Smith to surrender three runs in the fifth and two in the seventh, but still toss a complete game and win comfortably. He allowed nine hits and four walks; eight runs, seven earned; and struck out six.
In the 12-5 setback in the opener, errors hurt AC’s cause after the local nine took a 2-0 lead in the first on walks, a hit batter, Leach’s sacrifice bunt, and Raymond’s RBI single. Montpelier reached O’Connor, the starter and loser, for three in the second and six in the third, with only four of the runs earned. He allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out five in four innings. Whitney allowed three earned runs in the final two innings on five hits and a walk, while striking out one.
AC picked up a run in the fifth on hits by Smith, Leach and Raymond, and two in the sixth on a hit by Messenger, an error, and a Kimball RBI double.
In Sunday’s opener, Franklin snapped a 2-2 tie with four runs in the fifth. AC starter Will Wormer held Franklin in check on four hits through the first four innings, but the visitors scored four times on four hits in the fifth. Franklin added three more runs off reliever James Lincoln in the final 2.1 innings.
AC scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game, on an error, a walk and Kimball’s two-out, two-run double. Singles by Leach, Calvin Desforges and Lincoln plated a run in the fifth.
In the season’s closer, AC got a decent pitching performance from Bryce Burrell, who allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks while going the seven-inning distance. All three of those earned runs came in the first, when Franklin bunched three of its hits.
AC got both of its runs in the second, when the team managed two of its three hits. Benway walked, Burrell and Desforges singled, Sam Messenger squeezed a run home with a bunt, and walks to Liam Smith and Kimball scored the second run.
Franklin added single unearned runs in the third and fifth innings, while Smith had the only other AC hit as the curtain came down on the season, the first in eight years in which AC did not qualify for the Northern Division playoffs. 

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