Commodore baseball falls to U-32
VERGENNES — The difficulties the Division III Vergennes Union High School baseball team have had so far this spring against D-I and D-II opponents continued on Saturday, when D-II U-32 topped the Commodores, 6-1.
The Commodores opened the spring with a big win over D-III Williamstown, but since then they have dropped four straight, one to D-I Rice, and three to D-II teams with records of .500 or better.
Saturday’s outing was the closest of the four. VUHS had opportunities, especially early on, and hung with the 2-2 Raiders until the sixth inning, when U-32 used three hits and a pivotal error to put three runs on the board to extend its lead to 6-1.
U-32 pitcher Alexander Keane was a big factor for his team, tossing a complete-game four-hitter. He struggled with his control at times on the cool and windy game, walking three and hitting two batters. But the sturdy lefty got stronger as the game wore on despite the steady rain that started in the middle innings: He retired the final 10 Commodores in order, fanning six of them.
U-32 plated two runs in the first. The rally started with Sawyer Mislak leadoff double, a walk to Shane Starr and a double steal. Third baseman Eyon Tembreull then threw out Mislak trying to score on a Benjamin Bourgeois grounder.
Bourgeois then reached second when Keane nubbed a ground ball back to VUHS pitcher Peyton Paquette, with Keane retired at first and Starr heading to third. Bourgeois and Starr both came home on Aiden Boyd’s two-out single.
The Commodores threatened in their half of the first. Zeke Dubois singled to lead off, Tyler Kimball sacrificed him to second, and Gabe Scribner singled, with Dubois holding at third. Scribner then stole second with one out. But Keane bore down and retired the next two hitters on a foul popup and a strikeout.
Paquette, who pitched respectably, worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the second, and the Commodores put a run on the board in the bottom of the inning. Xavier DeBlois walked to lead off, and Paquette bunted him to second. Keane fanned the next batter, but hit Reese Paquette with a pitch, intentionally walked Dubois to load the bases, and then hit Kimball with a pitch to bring DeBlois in. But a grounder to short ended the rally.
U-32 made it 3-1 in the third on a walk to Bourgeois, a stolen base, an error, and a Boyd RBI grounder. Paquette then walked two batters to load the bases with one out, but whiffed the next two batters to limit the damage.
Both pitchers held the fort until the sixth, when the Raiders began to measure Paquette, who was nearing 100 pitches after having to work out of another jam in the fifth.
In the sixth Mislak led off with his second double, and a Starr single and stolen bases put runners on second and third. Paquette walked Keane to load the bases, and then induced a ground ball. But the throw home to force Mislak was a little off target, allowing him to score.
Kimball then came onto the mound, and Boyd greeted him with a two-run single to make it 6-1, picking up his third and fourth RBIs on the day in the process. Kimball retired five of the next six hitters to keep the Raiders from adding further to their lead, striking out two. One batter reached base: Thomas Mangieri singled to lead off the seventh, but the lefty Kimball picked him off.
Paquette allowed six runs in five-plus innings, four earned, on seven hits. He struck out four, walked four and hit two batters. He and Kimball had the other hits off Keane, singles in the third and fourth innings, respectively.
The Commodores are set to visit Mount Abraham on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and Milton on Saturday at 3 p.m. Middlebury is scheduled to come to VUHS on this coming Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
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