Legion nine wins one; but playoff hopes gone

HINESBURG — Four weekend setbacks ended the Addison County American Legion baseball team’s long-shot hopes of earning a Northern Division playoff berth, but AC bounced back to win on Tuesday.
AC stands at 5-12 with five games left in the regular season after losing road doubleheaders to contenders Essex and S.D. Ireland on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, and winning at Colchester on Tuesday.
On Saturday Essex swept AC, 9-2 and 10-0, and on Sunday SDI did the same, 4-0 and 13-3. On Tuesday AC rallied past Colchester, 4-2.
AC will now try to play spoiler down the stretch. AC is scheduled to host SD Ireland at 5:30 p.m. Friday, visit South Burlington for an 11 a.m. doubleheader on Saturday, and then wrap up with a home date at 5:30 p.m. on Monday the 23rd vs. Orleans-Essex-Caledonia.
AC briefly led, 1-0, in the first inning Saturday’s opener, loading the bases on singles by Dustin Whitcomb, Wyatt Cameron and Devon Kimball and scoring when Jeffrey Stearns walked with one out.
But Essex scored two in the second and two in the fourth off Whitcomb, who took the loss, and then broke the game open with two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth off reliever Hale Hescock. Nolan Whitcomb came on to pitch an inning of scoreless relief, but walked two inherited runners home.
AC scored again in the sixth on an Adam Whitcomb triple and Pat Messenger’s RBI groundout. Whitcomb and Kimball each poked two hits for AC.
Cory Giannelli and Rob Meslin each tripled and doubled for Essex, and George Goldsworthy went five innings for the win, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out four.
In Essex’s five-inning, 10-0 win in the nightcap, Maverick King (four innings) and a reliever combined to hold AC to one hit, a Cameron single.
Essex knocked around Hunter O’Connor for nine runs, five earned, on eight hits and four walks in four innings, and picked up the mercy-rule 10th run off George Bailey in the fifth. Ryan Young sparked Essex with four hits, and Grady Cram doubled and singled.
In Sunday’s opener starter Adam Whitcomb kept AC in the game through five innings, but SDI bunched four of its 10 hits off Whitcomb together in the sixth to score three times and take a 4-0 lead.
In the meantime three SDI hurlers, starter Hank Caswell and relievers Ryan Canty and Ian Paventi, held AC to four hits, all singles, two by Chris Wood and one apiece by Cameron and Kimball.
SDI scored its first run in the second on a Collin Vincent double and a Caswell single. In the sixth Ian Parent, Canty and Baker Angstman singles produced the first run, and Joran Roberts tripled the game’s final two runs home for the 4-0 final.
The weekend’s final game saw less drama, as the first 10 batters of the second inning all reached base and scored against Cameron, the AC starter. Bailey came on to limit the damage until the fifth, when SDI added three unearned runs to end the game on the 10-run mercy rule, 13-3.
AC scored its three runs in the fourth off reliever Calvin Werthrich. Cameron doubled and Kimball singled, and a wild pitch produced a run. Stearns single home another run, and another wild pitch and a Tucker Stearns groundout capped the rally. Tyler Skaflestad closed the inning out and shut down AC the rest of the way. Cameron finished with two hits for AC.
Roberts, Liam Reiner and Parent led SDI with two hits apiece, and starter Kyle Rivers tossed three hitless innings.
AC WINS, 4-2
On Tuesday Tucker Stearns tossed a complete-game five-hitter as AC knocked off Colchester. Stearns allowed one earned run, walking three and fanning two.
AC took a 1-0 lead in the third on an O’Connor single, a Wood sacrifice bunt and a Dustin Whitcomb RBI hit. The Cannons tied the score in the bottom of the inning when Tom Vesosky tripled and scored on a Jackson Root sacrifice fly. Colchester took a 1-0 lead in the fifth, when Tyler Daniels singled, moved up on an error and a fly ball, and scored on another Root fly ball.
AC scored three times with two out in the seventh to take the lead even after having a runner thrown out at home. Singles by Cooper O’Brien, O’Connor and Wood and a Dustin Whitcomb did the damage, with Vesosky taking the loss.
Coach Mike Estey called it a nice win.
“(It was) a great outing by Tucker Stearns, (with) solid defense and timely hitting,” he said in an email.

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