Legion nine drops five out of seven; out of playoffs
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County American Legion baseball team saw its long-shot bid for a Northern Division playoff berth end when it dropped five of seven games, all to teams higher than AC in the Northern Division standings, between this past Friday and Tuesday.
Just before that, AC had won three straight to improve to 5-8, but that stretch dropped the local nine to 7-13 and out of postseason contention heading into their final three games of the season.
AC was set to host the Orleans-Essex-Caledonia Kings in a Wednesday doubleheader at the Middlebury College field and then travel to Lyndon on Thursday to meet OEC in the season finale.
The 7-13 mark already represents a six-win improvement over 2015 for Coach Mike Estey’s squad, and almost all of the team will retain its eligibility for at least two more summers — those who will not return include catcher Chris Leach, first baseman Dylan Raymond, and multi-position player Calvin Desforges.
On Friday, July 15, Montpelier’s Sawyer Ladesack tossed a no-hitter in his team’s 6-1 victory over AC. Ladesack walked four and struck out five, but surrendered an earned run in the first inning. He walked Devon Kimball, who raced all the way to third on a Desforges sacrifice bunt and scored on a Leach sacrifice fly.
Montpelier struck for four unearned runs in the second inning off AC starter Dustin Whitcomb on two errors, a hit batsman and four singles, and added two more unearned runs in the third on an error, a double, and Ryan Semprebon’s two-run single. Four AC errors in the contest snapped a three-game errorless streak.
George Baily, Wyatt Cameron and Will Wormer each pitched a scoreless relief inning for AC.
AC, ESSEX SPLIT
On Saturday, AC won the opener of a doubleheader at Essex, 9-8, but the home team prevailed in the nightcap, 11-6.
Payson Williams earned the pitching win in game one, allowing four hits and two runs in three innings, striking out two. Cameron came on to get the final out and earn the save. Hunter O’Connor started and allowed six runs on six hits and six walks in 3.2 innings.
AC took leads of 4-0 after two innings and 5-1 entering the bottom of the fourth, when Essex rallied for five runs to go on top, 6-5. But AC rallied for the decisive four runs in the top of the fifth, with hits from Cameron, Whitcomb, Leach (a two-run double) and Adam Whitcomb (an RBI single). The fourth run scored on a wild pitch. Essex got a run in the sixth and one in the seventh, but AC held on.
Adam Whitcomb finished with three hits, and Dustin Whitcomb, Leach and Cameron had two hits apiece. Kimball, Leach and Cameron each scored twice, and Raymond, Greg Whitney, Patrick Messenger and Chris Wood picked up RBIs.
In the second game Essex took a quick lead with five runs, three earned, off Bailey in the first two innings. AC cut the lead to 5-3 in the fifth, but Essex put the game away with an unearned run off reliever Greg Whitney (two innings) in the fifth and five runs, four earned off Wormer in the sixth. AC added three runs in the seventh to create the final score.
Kimball (two hits) and Dustin Whitcomb (hit, walk, RBI) each scored twice, Leach poked a two-run double, and Williams hit a two-run single for AC.
On Sunday, host South Burlington defeated AC, 5-4 and 8-5.
AC took a 4-0 lead in the opener as Kimball singled, walked and scored twice, Whitney hit an RBI groundout, and Dustin Whitcomb singled in a run. Bailey and Wood each reached on errors and scored in AC’s three-run second. Leach added two hits for AC, one of which advanced Kimball into scoring position in the first inning. SB starter Ben Tate shut the door after the second inning through 4.1 innings, and Will Potter earned the win with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.
SB knotted the score with two runs in each of the second and fifth innings off AC starter Adam Whitcomb, all earned. Cameron came on to get AC out of a jam and end the fifth, but hit one batter and walked another in the sixth before allowing an RBI single to Patrick McMackin that plated the winning run.
In game two, SB took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the fourth off Bruce Wright (3.1 innings, five hits, five runs, four earned) and Williams to make it 5-4. Williams entered with one out and the bases loaded and allowed two inherited runners to score. SB then reached Williams for three runs in the fifth before he retired a batter. Bailey entered and tossed two innings of scoreless relief.
Kimball reached base three times, scored twice and doubled home a run; Bailey doubled, singled twice, drove in two runs and scored a run; Messenger doubled, singled, score a run and drove in a run; Liam Smith had a pair of hits; and Desforges doubled and scored.
On Tuesday, AC began by defeating S.D. Ireland, 5-3, in the conclusion of a game suspended due to lightning at Middlebury College on July 13 with the score tied at 3-3 in the fifth inning. AC stopped at Champlain Valley Union High School on their way to a regularly scheduled game at Colchester in order to fit the game in.
Play resumed with Dustin Whitcomb on first base and nobody out in the bottom of the fifth; he had been hit by a pitch. Wright laid down a sacrifice bunt, and the pitcher threw wildly to first base. The ball stayed in play down the right field line, allowing Whitcomb to score on the play. SDI also tried to throw out Wright at third base after Whitcomb scored, and that throw also went astray, allowing Wright to score and make it 5-3.
Cameron came on to pitch the final two innings and held SDI in check on one hit and a walk, striking out two, to earn the save. Adam Whitcomb, who hurled the first five innings the week before, picked up the win.
Colchester than blanked AC, 3-0, as Cannon hurler Luke Covey tossed a complete-game five-hitter. Dustin Whitcomb took the pitching loss, allowing three runs in five innings on seven hits. Wright and Smith each reached base twice for AC on singles and walks.
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