Sports

In softball: Mount Abe tops rivals; Tigers & Otters also earn wins

EAGLE SHORTSTOP LUCY Parker applies the tag on VUHS runner Sierra Bertrand trying to steal second base during Mount Abe’s win on Tuesday. Parker took a strong throw from catcher Gabrielle LaFreniere. Independent photo/Steve James

ADDISON COUNTY — The Mount Abraham softball team picked up big wins over its county rivals Middlebury and Vergennes, one in a rain-soaked Tuesday affair, to highlight high school softball action between May 11 and 17.

In other games, the Eagles rallied for a dramatic victory, Middlebury picked up a marathon road win, VUHS came up short away from home, and Otter Valley split two contests.

EAGLES-VUHS

Tuesday’s game in Bristol between the Commodores and the host Eagles ended up being probably one of the longest, and most competitive, games ever decided by the mercy rule. The Eagles scored 12 straight runs over the final two innings, including sixth in the fifth after a long delay — during which coaches, Mount Abe officials, volunteers and even umpire Joel Bouvier worked to make the field playable — to snap an 8-8 tie and prevail, 20-8.

One observer called the puddle near where the second baseman normally lines up, “Lake Mount Abe.” But the efforts, including deploying a dune’s worth of sand and sweeping water into right field, were successful, according to umpire in chief Billy Waller, and play resumed in the top of the fifth.

VUHS SENIOR SIERRA Bertrand takes a rip at a pitch during Tuesday’s softball game at Mount Abe. Bertrand drove in three runs with a pair of hits, but the Eagles prevailed.
Independent photo/Steve James

The 9-2 Eagles had won at VUHS, 13-0, earlier in the month, but the Commodores served notice they planned to compete with three runs in the top of the first off Eagle starter Payton Vincent, aided by two Eagles miscues. Audrey Tembreull singled home one run, and Sierra Bertrand knocked in the other two.

The Eagles responded with five two-out runs in their first at-bat. The flood gates opening with a two-out infield error (conditions were tough) that scored the two runners, Madelyn Hayden, who bunted her way on, and Cami Willsey, who walked. A passed ball on a third strike kept the inning alive, and singles by Gabrielle Lafreniere and Jo Toy capped the rally.

VUHS (5-6) got one back in the second, when Sam Hallock doubled, moved up on a ground ball and scored on pitcher Savanah Blaise’s infield hit. They threatened for more, but Willsey relieved with the bases loaded with two out and after a long battle with Bertrand induced her to line out to short.

The Eagles made it 8-4 with three runs in the third by breaking out the big bats. After an Eve McCormick single, Lafreniere and Toy drilled back-to-back homers.

Undeterred, the Commodores rallied for four two-out runs in the fourth. With the balls getting ever slicker (benches were feverishly wiping them down between at-bats, even pitches), Willsey issued two two-out walks.

A passed ball on a strikeout loaded the bases for Bertrand, and this time the batter won the battle drilling a two-run single. A Kaitlyn Little infield hit brought home another run, and an error tied the game.

Then the Eagles broke loose in the fourth. Two walks, singles by McCormick and Vincent (hers drove in two), and a Toy double that plated two more made it 12-8 and ended Blaise’s day. An error with Bertrand on the mound scored two more, and the Eagles led by 14-8 entering the rain delay.

When play resumed the Commodores got their first two runners on, one on a Jasmine Little hit, but the final two of Willsey’s eight strikeouts and a nice Toy catch in center ended the threat.

The Eagles then used two walks, two errors, a leadoff hit by Willsey and RBI singles by Lafreniere and Lucy Parker to score six runs to end the game on the mercy rule.

During the rain delay VUHS Coach Travis Scribner said he was happy to see his team’s bats come alive, and that he expected both the Eagles and the Commodores to do some damage in the Division II and III tournaments, respectively.

VUHS SENIOR FELICIA Poirier just beats the tag of Eagle third baseman Payton Vincent during Tuesday’s softball game at Mount Abe, won by the host Eagles.
Independent photo/Steve James

EAGLES-MUHS

On May 12, the Eagles blanked the Tigers, 17-0, in five innings. McCormick went three innings to earn the win and contributed three hits to the offense. Willsey belted a solo homer in the first inning, and the Eagles erupted for eight runs in the second.

Hayden had two hits, three runs and two RBIs, and Lafreniere and Vincent each drove in two runs with a pair of hits.

Emma Deering drilled two of the Tigers’ three hits, and Abby Stafford took the pitching loss.

EAGLES

On Saturday, the Eagles used two hits, Lafreniere’s two-RBI sacrifice fly, three walks and two errors to score seven runs in the top of the seventh to rally past host Enosburg, 8-5. The comeback made a winner of pitcher Willsey, who went the distance, allowing seven hits and two walks while striking out 11.

Isabella Powell, Parker, McCormick, Hayden, Willsey, Vincent and Toy had hits for the Eagles.

TIGERS

Also on Saturday, MUHS picked up a wild 12-10, 12-inning victory at Milton. In the decisive inning Middlebury catcher CC Rubright reached on an error and Deering singled. The runners moved up on a passed ball and scored on fielder’s choices hit by Stafford and Lily Dame to make the score 12-10.

Milton threatened in the bottom of the inning, but Dame in center field ended the game by catching a deep fly ball.

Earlier in the game, Middlebury scored on a Dame two-run single and a Hannah Cameron squeeze bunt to score Dame to make it 5-3 entering the seventh.

EAGLE MADELYN HAYDEN sparks the Mount Abe softball team’s five-run first-inning against visiting Vergennes on Tuesday with this leadoff bunt single.
Independent photo/Steve James

The Tigers scored four in the seventh on a Makayla Swan double, singles by Riley Farrell and Rubright, a Deering triple, and a Staffford RBI grounder, and they led, 7-5.

A walk and three singles, including a game-tying hit by Emma Philbrook, who earlier hit a three-run homer, sent the game into extra innings.

Both teams scored three runs in the eighth. Lily Russell bunted her way on and stole two bases, Farrell walked and stole second, and Rubright singled them home. Stafford later singled in Rubright.

But Milton scored three runs off Stafford, in relief of starter Lexi Whitney, who came back into retire the side and earned the pitching win by hurling a scoreless 12th after the Tigers’ decisive rally. Philbrook took the pitching loss despite striking out 20 Tigers.

The Tigers’ Tuesday game at Rice was postponed until Wednesday, leaving them at 6-4.

COMMODORES

On May 12, host Enosburg defeated VUHS, 13-1, in five innings. Dana Elkins earned the pitching win, striking out 12 and allowing two hits. Lilly Rabtoy homered for the Hornets, Bertrand took the pitching loss for VUHS.

OTTERS

On May 12, host Green Mountain Union scored eight runs in the first three innings on the way to a 13-5 victory over the Otters. Mackenzie McKay took the loss of OV, which got two hits apiece from Alivia Sheldrick, Ryleigh LaPorte and Marissa Connors.

The Otters’ Monday home game vs. Burr & Burton was postponed.

On Tuesday, the Otter snapped what had been a two-game skid in a big way, defeating host Windsor, 20-1 in six innings. Riley Keith sparked OV on the mound, striking out 10, and at the plate, tripling twice, doubling and singling. OV improved to 7-4.

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