Swinyer Wins in Finale
Windsor — While the Windsor High baseball team was a 3-1 winner over Bellows Falls on Saturday, it was not a particularly happy day for followers of Yellowjacket baseball: Don Swinyer coached his last game at MacLeay-Royce Field.
Job obligations have forced Swinyer to resign from a position he would have liked to have held for years to come. Swinyer played on the last Windsor state championship baseball team in 1975 and has coached the Jacks for the last 19 years, winning 201 games, five Marble Valley League titles and five trips to a Vermont Principals Association state championship game.
“It’s kind of sad,” said the always quiet Swinyer, who has been a Windsor loyalist since he graduated in 1977.
One thing that Swinyer was pleased about was that his last home game was against Bellows Falls and his friend Bob Lockerby, the BF coach. “I wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said.
While there will be no more home games for the Swinyer-led Yellowjackets, the team has at least one more game to play. Closing the season out with a win at Woodstock on Friday as well as Saturday’s victory put Windsor at 6-9 and most likely in 11th place in Vermont Division III. If Windsor athletic director Bob Hingston has calculated things correctly, the Jacks will begin postseason play on Tuesday at Williamstown.
Ethan Hill got Saturday’s mound assignment as a prelude to his start in the Tuesday tourney game. Hill, who had to throw fewer than 75 pitches to remain eligible for the Tuesday start, threw a very efficient 71 pitches over five innings and was the winning pitcher. He walked just one with five strikeouts and he allowed five hits, yielding as Nick Kapuscinski closed it out with two innings of shutout baseball.
It was a day of ceremonies beyond Swinyer’s pregame tribute with family and friends. Senior day saw Windsor’s Hill, Tyson Boudro, Kyle Cardillo and Matt Thayer play their final home contests. Thayer, the Windsor catcher, celebrated by throwing out two of the three would-be Bellows Falls base-stealers.
Bellows Falls finished the regular season at 9-7 and will likely be the seventh seed when the Division II tourney starts next week. The Terriers will get a first-round home game, and Lockerby says he’s not sure who the opponent will be, with Enosburg Falls, Mt. Abraham and Oxbow the likely possibilities.
Both Windsor and Bellows Falls expect to open the postseason on Tuesday. The official word comes from the VPA on Monday.
Like Windsor, Bellows Falls jockeyed its pitching around. Chris Armstrong got the first four innings and freshman Jacob Metcalf the final two innings for the Terriers.
“These two guys are not pitching today,” said Lockerby as he pointed to Colby Howe and Carson Fullam.
The game took just 90 minutes, as the pitchers were efficient (three walks) and the defenses strong (two errors).
It was also a case of one team taking advantage of its opportunities and the other leaving runners stranded. BF had runners on second and third with one out in the first inning but couldn’t convert.
“They got the hits when they counted, and we didn’t,” said Lockerby. “We should have taken advantage of that,” he said.
The Jacks took advantage of their only solid opportunity to score when they tallied three times with two down and nobody on in the third inning.
Nick LeBeau started the rally with a single, and Kapuscinski doubled him to third. Josh Moore followed with a single to right that scored LeBeau, and Cardillo walked to load the bases. Tyson Boudro followed with a long double to left that plated Kapuscinski and Moore. Cardillo would have also scored but he fell down rounding third.
Windsor had only two baserunners the rest of the way, and BF pitching retired the final 10 Windsor batters in order. A good finish, but the start was all the Jacks needed.
“That was a nice way to end it,” said Swinyer.