Despite late rally, Eagle nine falls to South Burlington by one run

BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Union High School baseball team scored the first three and final two runs vs. visiting South Burlington on Saturday and outhit the Rebels, 12-5, but came up just short on the scoreboard, 6-5.
The Eagles fell to 6-8, but are still well positioned for a home playoff game in Division II, which has only five teams with winning records.
Coach Jeff Stetson said the Eagles believe they’ve got a good shot at a second straight D-II title, and they will enter the tournament this year with a better record than 2016’s 5-11.
But he said in the postseason they probably cannot afford to leave 12 men on base and allow three unearned runs, as they did on Saturday.
“There are some really good teams out there in D-II this year that have some really strong pitching, so we’ve got to eliminate mistakes,” Stetson said. “But I think we’re all hopeful we can make another run. These guys all have that in the memory bank from last year.”
But he said it felt like Saturday’s game got away.
“We didn’t make the plays we needed to,” Stetson said. “We had the right hitters up with guys on base, and they didn’t get the hits for us they’ve been getting. You have days like that, I guess.”
In the Eagle first, Mount Abe scored just once on three walks and two hits allowed by South Burlington starter John Thibeault. A double play turned by third baseman Sam Premsagar deflated the rally, but Coleman Russell’s infield hit scored Dustin Whitcomb, who had also singled.
The Eagles made it 3-0 in the second. Catcher Jared Forand and George Bailey singled, and Forand and courtesy runner Greg Ouellette moved up on a Whitcomb groundout and scored on shortstop Chris Wood’s two-out single.
The Eagle defense was sharp behind Bailey on the mound early. Forand caught a runner stealing, and Wood and second baseman Wyatt Gendreau turned a double play.
But in the fourth South Burlington leadoff hitter Noah Barton reached on an error, stole second and scored on Premsagar’s single. Premsagar stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a James Patrick sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
In both the fourth and fifth innings, now with Eamon Sheridan on the mound, the Eagles were frustrated. In the fourth, Bailey tripled with one out, but courtesy runner Ouellette was tagged out when Whitcomb missed a squeeze bunt. Whitcomb and Wood then singled, but Sheridan worked out of trouble.
In the fifth, Gendreau singled, but SB catcher Danny Terhune threw him out stealing. James Patrick, who earned the win, came on to pitch and walked one batter and hit the next, but escaped the jam.
In the sixth, Bailey walked the first two batters. They eventually scored on a Premsagar single to give SB a 4-3 lead. A grounder got the first out of the inning, and then the Eagles dropped an infield popup. The Rebel’s fifth and sixth runs scored on a Connor McGrath sacrifice fly and a Terhune single.
The Eagles got runners on second and third with one out in the sixth on a walk and an error, but could not score. Bailey (seven innings, five hits, four walks, two Ks) then set SB down in order in the seventh.
“George pitched outstanding,” Stetson said
Then the Eagles rallied. Russell beat out an infield hit, and Ouellette walked. Premsagar, who relieved Patrick in the sixth and earned a save, got the next two hitters, but Bailey doubled to center to make it 6-5. Then Whitcomb drilled an opposite-field shot to left, but too close to the fielder and the comeback fell short.
“Probably the best part of today is that in the seventh inning we came back,” Stetson said. “And if that ball is five feet further down the line it’s a tie ballgame with the winning run on second base with our No. 3 hitter coming up.”

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