OV tops Mount Abe to highlight local baseball

ADDISON COUNTY — Visiting Otter Valley on Thursday continued its march through Division II high school baseball foes by coasting past host Mount Abraham Union, 16-1, in five innings.
In other baseball action late last week Otter Valley came up short at D-I Rutland, while Middlebury and Vergennes each split two games.
On Thursday the visiting Otters scored three two-out runs in the first and then broke the game open with big third and fourth innings on the way to a 16-1, five-inning win over the Eagles.
Josh Beayon earned the pitching win by allowing two hits — including an Eli Rickner home run — and striking out seven in four innings. Beayon also singled three times, scored three runs, and drove in one, part of the OV’s 15-hit attack against three Mount Abe hurlers, who also walked eight batters and tossed seven wild pitches.
The Otters improved to 7-2 heading into their Saturday game at D-I Rutland and remained unbeaten against D-II competition.
“We went out and pounded 15 hits and took advantage of some things and played hard,” said OV Coach Mike Howe. “We played the way we should play.”
For the Eagles, recent frustration continued. Coach Jeff Stetson’s team lost its third straight time, surrendering at least 10 runs in each of those setbacks. On Thursday OV scored eight two-out runs, something Stetson has seen as a trend.
“We have trouble getting out of innings without them turning into big innings,” Stetson said. “The kids are trying, but we haven’t clicked yet. Hopefully in the next two or three weeks things will move in that direction. They’re working hard in practice and trying to do the right things, but it hasn’t paid off for us yet.”
The two-out trouble started in the first when starting pitcher Eben Clifford surrendered two-out singles to Beayon and Payson Williams, a walk to Patrick McKeighan, and a two-run single toKollin Bissette to make it 3-0.
The Eagles made a run at Beayon in the second. Rickner led off by drilling a homer over the left-field fence, and John Jennings followed by lining single, stealing second and reaching third on a wild pitch. But Beayon bore down to strike out the next three batters. In all, he whiffed seven and walked three.
Clifford ran into trouble in the third, when the Eagles loaded the bases on singles by Nate Hudson and Williams and a walk to McKeighan. Bissette drove in the first of a four-run inning with an infield hit, and Clifford walked Daniel Allen, Marcus McCullough andReilly Shannon to force in three more runs.
OV added eight runs in the fourth off three pitchers. Beayon led off with a single off Clifford and later singled in a run on reliever Jacob Hoag, Williams singled and scored, and McCullough singled in a run. The other runs scored on walks and four Hoag wild pitches and one from Nolan Whitcomb.
OV added two unearned runs in the fifth. McKeighan led off with a single, Bissette reached on an error, and they scored on a McCullough RBI grounder and a Nate Blake RBI single. McCullough tossed a scoreless fifth inning for OV during which the Otters made their only error.
Stetson said it has been hard for his pitchers to work between games to sharpen their offerings because all have been pressed into action during the games. But all the Eagles are doing what they can to get better, he said.  
“They’ve decided they’re going to work as hard as they can and be as positive as they can,” he said.
Meanwhile the Otters are trying to hone their play in hopes of repeating as Division II champions, Howe said.
“There are a couple little things (to improve), and some of it is just mental stuff, making sure you’re picking up every sign,” Howe said. “But I think we’re going in the right direction.”
On Saturday D-I Rutland (3-7) held on for a 5-4 win at OV when Raider center fielder Jack Akers dove to make a two-out, seventh-inning catch of a McCullough liner with two runners in scoring position. Williams started and took the pitching loss, allowing four runs, while McKeighan pitched well in relief.
Bissette singled home two runs in the third, and the Otters scored two in the seventh before the big catch when Beayon was hit by a pitch and Williams, McKeighan and Bissette all singled. OV saw a four-game winning streak snapped.
On Tuesday Hale Hescock and Nick Kaufmann each homered to back the pitching of Jordy Stearns as the Tigers topped host Milton, 9-3. Hale Hescock scored three runs and also doubled, singled and drove in two runs, while Kaufman plated three runs. Brian Foote knocked out three hits and drove in a run, Wyatt Cameron drove in a pair with two safeties, and Skyeler Devlin picked up two hits. Stearns struck out 12 on the mound.
On Saturday visiting South Burlington topped the Tigers, 10-0, as winning pitcher Seamus McGrath allowed three hits. Devlin took the loss for MUHS (5-3).
At VUHS on Thursday Fairfax ace Michael Roy outdueled the Commodores’ Ethan Bissonette in the Bullets’ 3-1 win. Roy tossed a three-hitter and struck out 10, while Bissonette also allowed three hits while fanning eight and allowing one earned run. Bissonette also singled twice and drove in the VUHS run, and Jeffrey Stearns poked the other VUHS hit and drew the only walk Roy allowed.
On Saturday the Commodores topped host Richford, 8-4, as Tucker Stearns tossed a complete-game eight-hitter, fanning 10 and walking one. Stearns and Cooper O’Brien also paced the Commodores attack with two hits apiece. VUHS won for the third time in five outings and improved to 3-8.

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